Well, here we are a week on. This week I have mostly not been doing what I should be doing, which is reading papers for a course on Business Model Innovation. Distractions are rampant. I have been baking – quiche, brownies, mince pies, and chicken pie. All very tasty, but not what I should be doing. And now, while I have taken my Swedish meatloaf (more pastry) out of the freezer, instead of studying I am attempting to be a genuine blogger. Really, I don’t know how people find the time.
This is actually the first quiche that I have made. I used Gerard Mulot’s filling, 150 ml cream, 100 ml milk and 3 eggs. I poured that over 100g grated mature cheddar, fried lardons and blanched leeks. The pastry was a basic shortcrust – 200 g flour, 100 g butter and an egg, blind-baked for about 20 minutes. The filling cooked for about 30 minutes.
Business Model Innovation. What have I learned about it so far? You must remember that I am by training a physicist and a technical writer, and the world of business is all somewhat arcane to me. A business model (not to be confused, apparently, with tactics or strategy) seems to describe, simply, how you effect your transactions. Lease, purchase, on line, off line, that sort of thing. The innovation seems to come in when you start using modern technology, and in particular social media, to engage with your customers. I should know more soon. When I have stopped blogging and started studying.
I mentioned Hermann Hesse in my last post and promised more. So here you go.
In The Glass Bead Game (written in 1943) Hesse describes the Feuilletonistic Age, a future that brings disaster to civilization. I quote here:
We must confess that we cannot provide an unequivocal definition of those products from which the age takes its name, the feuilletons. They seem to have formed an uncommonly popular section of the daily newspapers, were produced by the millions, and were a major source of mental pabulum for the reader in want of culture. They reported on, or rather “chatted” about, a thousand-and-one items of knowledge. … In some periods interviews with well-known personalities on current problems were particularly popular.
This bears such a striking resemblance to the age of social media, with a bit of modern celebrity culture thrown in. In his novel, these feuilletons spell the end of true education and learning, as governments and military bodies gain control over knowledge, to the extent of being able to dictate, for example, that 2 + 2 = 5. Out of this chaos, after bloody battles, a new societal structure emerges consisting of the Castalians, who combine the purity of monks with the learning of scholars (but without following any religion). Their mission statement, embodied in the Glass Bead Game, is to link together all the intellectual pursuits, such as music, mathematics, linguistics, history, philosophy and so forth, through common themes or motifs. Personally, I really like this idea of finding underlying patterns in common throughout different disciplines. The Castalians, who are the guardians of society’s education, are supported by the people in the real world. In the book, we sense that the people in the real world are becoming increasingly tired of supporting what appears to be a somewhat decorative and nonessential caste, as they struggle to do what people in the real world do – make ends meet.
Again, I find the resemblance to modern society is quite striking, as the syllabus in our schools and colleges becomes increasingly dictated by what is profitable in the world of commerce. Pure research, and study without potential for material gain, seems to be being slowly edged out of the education function. Do we get a glimpse here of our own future?
To find out more, read the book!
In addition to not studying, I have been walking the dogs. There has been some lovely weather, although the ground is somewhat waterlogged. Yesterday, in particular, was one of those calm and sunny autumn days with a low warm sunlight.
One final observation. As an amateur blogger, I was resting on my laurels thinking that I could slowly get my blog up and running before launching it on the world at large. How wrong I was, it seems. For I have managed to acquire a follower! My apologies to you for the half-hearted content of my first post, and I hope that you will find more to interest you in this one.