Sunday, February 27, 2011

On becoming a producer

I was recently ridiculously inspired by this project out in rural Missouri, where a handful of folks are developing an open-source set of designs for the 50 tools a community of 100-200 people (see my entry on Dunbar's number) would need to replicate an advanced civilization.

GVCS in 2 Minutes from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo.

In the aftermath of this boggling of the mind, I am having a serious crisis of doubt regarding my own skills. These guys are clearly SKILLED. I am in graduate school, thankfully going no further into debt but nonetheless investing precious time in gaining a set of skills that are useful mostly in organizing other peoples' activities and industry. I want to produce. I am learning how to troubleshoot human systems, navigate bureaucracy, and listen/respond to the needs of marginalized people. But more than anything I want to see EVERYONE empowered again in the creation of their world. Of our world. Beginning with me.

That said, I am causing myself a lot of grief, doubting the usefulness of most everything I'm spending my time doing right now. So, as a matter of triage, I need to document what skills I AM learning:

* how to troubleshoot systems of human activity and production, including flow-charts, logic models, and system mapping
* how to write really good memos
* how to use technology and media to communicate ideas
* how markets work, and the basic notions of economics as they pertain to policies
* how to do two-tailed t-tests and otherwise make probability predictions
* something about financial management, especially for nonprofits
* excel for organizing information
* background research
* some business skills in marketing and development, including business plans (at least by the end if not yet)
* basic approaches to policy analysis and advocacy

And some skills I already had:

* backpacking
* writing
* drawing
* basic carpentry
* basic gardening

No comments: