On Friday evening, I spent a little while speaking on the phone with an editor at a daily newspaper in Delhi. I hadn’t heard from her in a while or seen her posts on any social media platform either. Polite to a fault, when we finally spoke, it turns out, she is busy. Her days and nights are now spent sifting through public archives to curate a collection that places in perspective the life and times of a leader she thinks is important because his thoughts matter now more than ever.
Now, why must she work as hard? Because what does a curator have to do?
Popular perception has it that curators are people who surface compilations of noteworthy thoughts or lists of what they think are good pieces of work. But this is an absurd assumption. Because in a noisy world where everyone imagines themselves as content producers, algorithms included, curators play some crucial roles.
1. They create: It is one thing to surface what is important. But to sift through the most important themes of our times, focus on what matters most, summarise why it matters, and offer pointers on how to navigate a theme intelligently, is what makes them creators. This is what my colleague NS Ramnath does through his weekly newsletter on technology. May I urge you to look up his most recent one here and subscribe to it here?
2. They filter: There are books. But they are reviewed, often subjectively, rarely objectively. Add to these reviews on ghastly platforms where even the uninformed can make or break a book with random ratings. Fact is, it takes an experienced curator to sift through what matters to an audience on themes they must pay attention to. That is why at Founding Fuel, we place a premium on the summaries D Shivakumar, president (corporate strategy and business development) at Aditya Birla Group, writes. His most recent one on It’s the Manager is a case in point. For that matter, what he pointed to as must-read business books in December 2018 is another case in point.
3. They lead: What binds all curators is that as the noise gets louder, they double down on their efforts to focus on the essentials. Their voices then are that of outliers. There is much to be learnt from curators. They lead. Away from the noise.
My very best,
[Photo from ISRO]
When news broke that Chandrayaan 2 could not complete one of its missions to land on the moon, over a billion Indian hearts broke. But NS Ramnath digs from history and pulls out an anecdote as recounted by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, an old ISRO hand, on why this ought not be viewed as a failure. (By NS Ramnath. Read Time: 5 mins)
Insights from Jim Clifton and Jim Harter’s book ‘It’s the Manager’. The book is based on the largest global study by Gallup on the future of work. (By D Shivakumar. Read Time: 7 mins)
Elena L. Botelho, bestselling author of ‘The CEO Next Door’ and partner at leadership advisory firm ghSMART, explains why most people misunderstand what it takes to get the corner office. (From CKGSB Knowledge. Read Time: 7 mins)
What We Are Reading
Podcast | Shankar Vedantam of NPR in conversation with psychologist and author Dan Gilbert about where we go wrong in making our predictions and how we can use this research to lead happier lives.
Books | Best-selling writer Steven Johnson draws from multiple disciplines to make a case that everyone thinks we are living in an age of short attention spans. But we've actually learned a lot about making long-term decisions in the last few decades. He draws on lessons learnt from domains as diverse as cognitive science, social psychology, military strategy, environmental planning, and great works of literature.
From Our Archives
[A multi-spectral image of Doha, Qatar, taken on June 26, 2017, by Isro's Cartosat 2 series satellite. Source: ISRO]
ISRO’s achievements in earth observation are one outcome of this culture of working without silos. (By N Dayasindhu)
In his new book, 'Superforecasting’, Philip Tetlock looks at those who get it right and how they do it. (By N S Ramnath)
In this interview with Dan Ariely, the author of 'Predictably Irrational' and 'The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty' discusses our mental frailties and how they can help with our decision making in the modern world. (From CKGSB Knowledge)