Analytical 27: Creators

18 May, 2018


There are creators, consumers and regurgitators of knowledge and information. Which and you? And why I think you should spend at some of your time creating something.

Transcript available
[Music] Everything can be improved, iterated and refined. And if you don't think that's true, maybe you haven't analysed it enough. Calculated choices, carefully considered, absolutely analytical. This episode is sponsored by Makers for Good and their impressive Helio, powered light flashlight and power bank that's perfect for camping, hiking, emergencies as a nightlight or for wherever your adventures may take you. We'll talk more about them during the show. Analytical is part of the Engineer Network to support our shows including this one. Head over to our Patreon page and for other great shows visit today. Creators. I have been thinking about this for quite a long time. I think people generally fall into three primary behavioral categories in this regard and I'd like to think of them as consumers, creators and regurgitators. Now consuming content that's generally speaking pretty easy. You sit there or stand I guess these days it seems to be the fashion standing desks and stuff and you read something you listen to something or someone or you watch something or someone but But there's active listening as much as there is engaging viewing, as much as there is attentive reading. Reading words on a page and remembering them is one way you can consume, but really you're just passing time if you're not really thinking about it. There's also a difference between the kind of article or book you're reading and what lends itself to what. In a television example, watching some mindless show with lots of action is kind of like bubble gum for the brain, I've heard it called, rather than documentary about astrophysics, which is probably going to require a little bit more concentration. Reading the words and thinking about what's been written, sometimes even re-reading the same passage or sentence over and over and over, trying to extract every last bit of nuance out of the text. Same as watching certain documentaries. It takes longer. It takes thought, thinking time, brain cycles, I guess, whatever you want to call it. I like brain cycles, but anyway. It can depend on the content, your personal interest or enthusiasm. And also, a lot of it also hinges on whether the reader or viewer can comprehend what they're reading or the viewer to comprehend what they're watching. that I mean ask an eight-year-old to read a book on philosophy and then ask them their interpretation you're probably not gonna get a very in-depth response from that it's probably unlikely. When it comes to regurgitating I mentioned before something can be pure regurgitation factually blow by blow of whatever was read heard or watched. Now regurgitating something with interpretation of its intent is better. But in order to do that, you really need to have been engaged and concentrating and spending some time thinking about it first. So, it really does all come back to effort and commitment. Some people are just happy playing back at the surface level, I guess you could say, of whatever they've read, heard, or watched, not getting into the depth and and the nuance beneath it. Hence the expression I've heard media executives say sometimes, people like what I tell them to like. It's really frustrating for me to see people exhibiting that behavior. I mean, it's their choice, so I guess that's fine. I mean, I can't make other people want to be more interested in things. That's up to them and that's okay. But if you wanna be creating things, I don't think you can just really do that. Because if you do regurgitate something with no interpretation at all, no thought, that's not creativity. That's just plagiarism. Now, even if you do apply some level of interpretation from a single source of information, that's not much better. It's better, sure, than just regurgitating it, but not much better. So ideally I think the best creativity is born out of the merging of different ideas in different and new ways. Before we go any further I'd like to talk about a sponsor for this episode and that's Makers for Good, formerly Exosensory Devices. They're an innovative company based in Palo Alto, California and they've recently released the Helio, a solar-powered lantern light, flashlight and power bank. The Helio has an intensely bright flashlight at 150 lumens, but if that's too bright or if you want some longevity, it has medium and low light settings as well. The same too for its lantern light, but as a bonus, the lantern light provides a red light as well as a white light. There's also an emergency flashing mode in case you need to signal for help. The Helio takes 17 hours of full sunlight to fully charge from flat and yes, that would take a couple of days to charge, but after that you'll get 15 hours of lantern or flashlight. At 5200mAh a fully charged Helio can recharge an iPhone X one and a half times from flat. Now if that isn't impressive enough for you, I mentioned low light before, if you're using the medium light output you'll get 5 continuous days worth of light, and in low light output you'll get a whopping 1 month of light without needing to recharge If solar isn't available, it can be charged from a standard USB port from flat in 6 hours using a standard micro USB connector if you need to. The Helio comes in a variety of colours, Redwoods, Moonrock Grey and Adventure Green and all modes come with a convenient flip out stand and hook that can be used to suspend the Helio from a hook or to stand it upright on a flat surface. It also comes with a convenient lanyard for carrying and 3 low powered LEDs indicate the overall charge level. All the ports are protected by a tight water resistant cover and the stand is all metal with a solid metal ratchet mechanism that holds it in place. The first thing that strikes you about the Helium when you hold it is how strong and solid it feels. It's made from high strength polycarbonate that's impact resistant and the unit weighs at only 370g, it's 13oz. All that and it's not much bigger than an average size maglite measuring about 8 inches long by 2.5 wide and just over an inch thick. That's about 200x60x30mm so it's pretty portable. The solid products like this are not built down to a price but rather to their performance which speaks for itself. The Helio is only $89.95 but there's something different we really need to mention here. Makers for Good have a non-profit arm and as part of that, all profits from sales of the Helio are used to support non-profit organisations through their ShareLite program. Their ultimate goal is to help bring renewable and safer light and energy to parts of the world that still reliant on kerosene and candles, but in a package that's just as home anywhere in the world. So if you'd like to check one out, just head over to MAKERS4, as in the number 4, good, or to learn more and enter the coupon code ENGINEERED for 20% off your Helio in your choice of color and shipping is free anywhere in the continental United States. Thank you to MAKERS4GOOD for sponsoring the Engineered Network. So you can think long and hard about things and reach a conclusion, or you can look around you, consume a bit, absorb other people's work and ideas, and think about how they can work together. What you come up with is the merging of all those ideas, and to me, at least to me, that's creativity. The Cambridge Dictionary defines creativity as the ability to produce original and unusual ideas or to make something new or imaginative and I think that pretty well fits nicely. So I started out by saying people fell into one of the three categories. Well the truth is it's not that black and white. We drift between all of them, you know, in different aspects at different times of our lives. No one is exclusively a consumer or exclusively a creator or exclusively a regurgitator. It does, I have to say, annoy me though, when people just consume, regurgitate, consume, regurgitate and don't add anything to the conversation in the process. The world doesn't need a bunch of parrots living in it, just re-spinning the same thoughts around in circles indefinitely. Not sure how that helps anyone. But worse than that, the world then becomes a bunch of consumers and regurgitators fed by an ever-shrinking number of actual creators. That's not really a good place to end up. I think if we consider a specific type of interest, let's say novels for example, plenty of people go their entire lives just reading, consuming novels, they enter into occasional discussions where they regurgitate some of the contents to others briefly in a conversation and never ever consider writing their own novel. Of course, writing novels is a skill, no different to any other skill, and it takes practice. With practice, most people could write their own passable novel and become creators in the process, but they don't. For some reason, this bothers me. I feel like if you just consume and consume, it's like you're taking something from others. You can argue that's entertainment value, but in terms of consuming and that's all you do, you're not really doing anything with it. You're a sponge that never gets wrung out. It's not exactly wrong. I mean, I don't think it's wrong in the sense of right and wrong, but I do think that it's a bit of a waste. It's a bit of a shame. It's unfortunate. And I feel like we shouldn't just consume and consume and that's all we ever do. I feel like we should try to create something from everything we've learned and give something back it just feels like such a waste if we don't. So if you've been consuming a lot of things lately have a think about it maybe you should create something something great something something you're proud of something that you can give back I think the world would be a lot better place if you did and on behalf of the world I'll thank Thank you, personally, for when you do. Why not? If you're enjoying Analytical and want to support the show, you can, like some of our backers, Chris Stone and Carsten Hansen. They and many others are patrons of the show via Patreon, and you can find it at or one word. Patron rewards include a named thank you on the website, a named thank you at the end of episodes, access to pages of raw show notes, as well as ad-free high-quality releases of every episode. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, there's lots of great rewards, and beyond that, it's all very much appreciated. I'd like to thank Makers4Good for sponsoring the Engineered Network. Visit for more information about their impressive Helio solar-powered light, flashlight, and power bank. And use the coupon code ENGINEERED for 20% off exclusively for Engineered Network listeners. Analytical is part of the Engineered Network and you can find it at and you can follow me on Mastodon at [email protected] or the network on Twitter at engineered_net. Accept nothing, question everything. It's always a good time to analyze something. I'm John Chidji. Thanks so much for listening. (music) you
Duration 12 minutes and 32 seconds Direct Download
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Makers4Good: Makers4Good are an innovative company based in Palo Alto, California and they’ve recently released the HELIO: A Solar Light, Torch and Powerbank that’s perfect for camping, hiking, emergencies, gazebos, use as a night light or wherever your adventures might happen to take you. All profits from the sale of the HELIO go to providing light and power for those in need. Visit and use the Coupon Code ENGINEERED for 20% off the total price of your order.

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John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.