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Fear and Qualitative Easing on The Road to Vegas

Tags AU, AU2011, Autodesk University, people, people skills

I get the pleasure of doing More People Skills this year @ AU 2011 than ever before. We're even doing Unconference break-out sessions - performing some live participatory skills construction. Who would have thought? Is this Unconference break dancing?.

That may appear improbable in the herds of nerds techno-tool environment that is Autodesk University. People know better. The AU theme for this year says many get it that People are 

The Power of the Possible

I drive to AU. It's become an Annual Right of Passage and Discipline. It's not really a Hunter S. Thompson road trip, but CA to NV can be strange.
Some years I cannot travel alone. Once in a while on the road to Vegas someone asks,

"What's the MOST IMPORTANT People Skill?"

I'm biased like the old tires leaning behind the dusting gas stations that may hold West Nile mosquitoes.
Out here? Does it ever rain?
It's California - there's even a song 'bout that Silly...

When All (the rental car key and electronic hotel card key things) are said and done for me:

The One is Critical Thinking Skill

Critical thinking skills are the single most important skill for all the folks. They are absolutely mandatory for decision makers. 

Don't we all have to do that?

Yep - Look out the window. Over there before the setting sun that's Space Composites. SpaceShipOne and and Two float like a butterfly.
Do they sting like a bee if you're a NASA engineer? 

The Next Enterprise

Can a better and smarter Burt than Ernie's live near a graveyard airline? 
Maybe the Egyptian mosquitoes live there too?
The Princes of Virgin and Palmdale only know.

Here is probably the best researched and agreed upon formal  academic definition of what critical thinking skills are:

“The skilled active interpretation and evaluation of observations, communications, information, and argumentation as a guide to thought and action.” 
    – Michael Scriven, PhD of psychology, Harvard & UC Berkeley

Yep...lots of circling ACADemic psychologic in there. 
He may be Hunting something S. 
I feel a Slurpee induced brain freeze coming on. 
This must be Barstow.
Nah.
Barstow's bigger - Barstow had the world's busiest McD's for years and years.
It's a long trip to the 24 hr a day Strip. 
People eat somewhere. You have to pay before AU's free.

In less formal terms,
The possession of critical thinking skills allow some people to process a whole bunch of information, weigh it, slice it, argue about it and come up with "better" decisions than most other people most of the time.

Wonder of wonders, we know what the critical thinking skills are. We know they are trainable, teachable, and learnable not just by some but by most. We also know it's not a one-sized fits all problem. 

People Think Differently 

Thank Goodness for that!

Why is there traffic jamb out here in the middle of nowhere? 
Silly, this is still California. You think too much.
Did YOU see the price of GAS over there! 
We'd need to gamble on another student loan.

Unfortunately, even our best educational institutions don’t appear to do that most important work very effectively. That's their own repeating assessment not mine. It also doesn't matter what level or type of education we talk about either.

It's an obvious crisis of purpose.

"This can't be happin', man."

It not Aliens or a movie.
Sorry that was Barstow. 
We missed it when we passed the that Rolling Thunder RV.

Programs, Policies and Money can't and won't fix the problem. Like many of the overwhelming issues we all have to face in life, it's way more personal than that.

Put another way,

I Know People Think Differently

Do I Behave Like They Do?

Are these the first couple of the Laws of Human Gravity?
Like Einstein’s gravity they suck on the surface of the human spacetime.
Now that's weird.
That second part acts a lot like the Second Law of Thermodynamics too. Never mind.

Must be all the headlights (or are those taillights?) shinning in my eyes.
The science of the brain's highway patterns can be blinding like the stateline casinos. 
Arn't we going up and down all the time?
Silly you thought the high desert was flat like Kanas?

My meager and not-so-deserted critical thinking skills say...

I'd better find out How, Where, When, and What people think differently.

There are all kinds of people unlike us betting and getting on the AU 2011 trip

Are we staying on the Strip this year?
Silly what does your new Google Maps powered Apple-eyed Droid say?
They say Bill's laughing all the way to the intellectual capitol bank. 
Thoughtful of him to spend some of it fighting some other mosquitoes.