Many countries are starting their recovery plan from COVID-19, places are reopening, people are getting back to offices, and it‘s graduating season again. Many of you guys are facing a life intersection, including what school to go, which major to choose, and what kind of job to change. Especially those new grads who have to interview frequently messaged me with the same question: how to prepare for an interview?
Although I am not a hiring manager, I know that probably the hardest question you would get in an interview is: “What is one thing that the public takes for granted that you see as different from others?”
This question came from one of the most successful people in Silicon Valley Peter Thiel’s favorite question in the interview.
If you asked this question to Li JiaQi, I bet his answer is “Lipstick is not just for women to endorse.”
Or if you ask this question to He Tongxue, I guess his response to it would be: “Hi Teacher, not only you can teach 5G technology, but also Danny and I.”
Maybe now it’s time for you to think about how would you answer the question: ” What is one thing that the public takes for granted that you see as different from others?”
If you dive deep into this question, it’s Socrates’s dialectics. In other words, it’s just to try to refute myself with anything it takes.
By the way, do you think dialectics can be used when you are fighting with your girlfriend? Please don’t, please don’t use this tactic in this case if you still want to live.
Dialectics can be used in an interview, and it can also be easily found in my “tech and cars” case study database. For example, different car companies have different pursuits for travel and driving. Some car companies emphasize 100km acceleration, while some car companies want to give you a better experience on the road. Lexus LC’s chief engineer Sato once said: “It’s more about how the driver feels about accelerating than it is about increasing the acceleration time by 1 second.” In other words, Lexus’s main focus is on how technology guarantees customer experience, those who have sat through it should be able to feel how good it is.
So, a lot of things can be viewed dialectically, especially when we have choice difficulties, and dialectics is a good way to think. Just like the way that Prof. Luo analyzing multiple-choice questions about John, today I’d like to talk about three mistakes that young people can easily make with multiple-choice questions.
I’m Danny, I talk about tech and cars. This episode will not follow my regular standard: refute as you like, but a new standard: refute as I wish since I’m going to challenge my habitual thinking.
First, we will start with the first multiple-choice:full or free.
Almost everyone is advocating the importance of enrichment. Like regular workdays are increased from 855 to 996 and even to 007. But we cannot always be like Sisyphus in Camus’ writing and forever push the rock up a mountain.
Occasional staying up late, taking on adventures, rebelling the social norms, and daydreaming, these are the right way to stimulate creativity. Even Newton’s story proved my theory: gravity was not from labs and researches, it’s from a flash of light a sitting under an apple tree.
Here I would recommend a best-selling book among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: Originals. Sociological scientist Adam Grant conducted an in-depth study of hundreds of celebrities who were non-conformists but changed the world. Adam summed up a series of their commonalities. An unexpected finding among all others is the importance of procrastinating and space out for innovation.
According to Adam Grant’s research, creative people always “start faster than others, but finish more slowly.” Therefore, big shots also have procrastination and are very good at leaving their brain blank at critical moments, so that the great idea could flash through their minds.
“Leaving blank space” in Chinese painting is an artistic expression of this spirit. Ink draws as black, and paper shows as white. Black and white illuminate each other, and the real and the virtual are coexisting harmoniously. It offers an imaginary space to the people, so brilliant.
Procrastinating and space out are not problems, but laziness is. The critical points to keep the high-efficiency operation are: don’t occupy yourself with too many things and don’t overload your mobile phone. The pace of modern society is swift. We are all used to look around, scramble, and hardly leave any time for ourselves to think about our life. In this regard, there is an inspiring concept in Japanese culture.
And what’s that?
IKIGAI. It means “the meaning of life”. Put simply, it requires you to ask yourself a question: “Why do you want to live??”
To be honest, this concept is abstract, but it has concrete steps. How to figure out why do I want to live? Let’s take a look at the IKIGAI model:
It consists of four circles,
The first circle: What do you love?
The second circle: What are you good at?
The third circle: What you can be paid for?
Fourth circle: What does the world need you to do?
If you only fit in one circle, you must be far from happiness.
What if you can fit in two circles at the same time?
The intersection of No.1 & No.2 circles: finding things you love, and you are good at. This makes people passionate.
The intersection of No.2 & No.3 circles: finding things you are good at and could support your family. This makes you become a professional.
The intersection of No.3 & No.4 circles: finding things the world needs you to do. This brings you a great sense of achievement and enhances self-worth.
The intersection of No.1 & No.4 circles: finding things you love by heart and are motivated by a sense of mission. This makes you noble and respected.
But if you only fit in two circles,you may not be able to reach happiness.
The perfect model is to find your own IKIGAI — one thing that makes all four circles overlap. Have you seen what you are loving, what you are good at, what does the world need you to do, what can be paid for, and a girlfriend? Do you have all of these? If the answer is yes, please be quiet, and don’t show off on the screen to make others feel jealous.
Whether it is the various Chinese artisans in the famous documentary, The Rise of the Great Powers, or the legendary Japanese sushi master Ono Jiro, or the tempura master Saotome Tetsuya, etc., they are the embodiment of IKIGAI, the four-circle overlap. Another example can be found in the ancient Okayama Kiln in Japan. Hajime Kimura is the young owner of the oldest Bizen ware. He insisted on using “red pine wood” as fuel, and also ensuring that the temperature of the kiln must be 1200 degrees. The pottery craftsmanship is handed down from generation to generation and the kiln only opens twice a year. These people combine natural power with the skills of masters and they regard their work as the pleasure of life and then discover their meaning of life. Just like the master of sushi Ono Jiro Said: “My dream is to pass away at work in the last minute of my life.”
In fact, the concept of IKIGAI is not only applicable to individuals but also enterprises. Its reflection in enterprises is not blindly pursuing large output and high speed. When most companies are still seeking profits for survival, some companies have already begun to explore the meaning of life for individuals and for society. For instance, Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda mentioned in the recent financial report:
we need to think about how we, as human beings and as companies, should live our lives, and how we should treasure the hometown, the country, and the earth we live with.
The second multiple choice: high-speed or perfection.
Let’s talk about high-speed first. Whether it’s high-speed trains that run all over the country and reach out to the world or couriers running from one building to another, they all understand the importance of high-speed.
Reid Hoffman, the tycoon of Silicon Valley, puts forward his core idea in his book Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies:
Prioritizing high-speed development of a company even in the face of uncertainty.
However, is high-speed everything? Not necessarily.
For example, many tour groups tend to arrange a 10-country tour in 8 days. In this way, group members can only take some photos to post on their social media, and just shopping for some luxury goods. They wouldn’t be able to enjoy the Midnight Paris, Roman Holidays, or the Beautiful Legend of Sicily.
Now think about your first love. If she only cared about high-speed, she could have placed an order on Taobao, instead of spending a few months learning and knitting that red scarf for you.
Thus, “high-speed” is limited to some extent. Perfection is also pursued by many people.
European artists are typical slowcoaches in pursuit of perfection. For example, Da Vinci spent 16 years working on and off on the famous painting Mona Lisa’s Smile. Auguste Rodin struggled 37 years to create the masterpiece—The Gates of Hell. Gaudi didn’t finish the world’s greatest architecture in his lifetime—The Sagrada Família in Barcelona.
Take a look at the cases of perfection in the East, and one of them is a traditional Chinese craft—rice carving. There is a saying: “The world is hidden in a grain of rice, and the universe can be found in half pot.” Rice carving was originally used to cheat in exams in ancient China. Later, it turned into an art. Craftsmen carve the exquisite and poetic world on the grains of rice, and this couldn’t be done without years of accumulation of miniature carving skills and super patience.
Cases of “soft fire makes sweet malt” are quite common in the art field but are relatively rare in business. Only a few top brands are willing to do so. The design team of Lexus is an example. It took them three years just to perfect the curve of a door handle and bring users a comfortable and excellent grip experience whether they use left or right hands.
In fact, neither high-speed nor perfection is everything. Too much focus on high speed might lead to a lack of sense of humanity and easy to produce shoddy work, while the pursuit of the only perfection is often capital-consuming, painstaking, and laborious. Therefore, a guide map came out and promoted the “Green Zone of Excellence”.
As such, many choices are not one or the other but the “Green Zone of Excellence”. Just as many things are the art of balance that I mentioned before.
Third multiple-choice — AI or IA.
I believe that everyone knows AI, but not IA, so I will start with Dannypedia. In the 1950s, when the artificial intelligence originally emerged, there were two directions:
AI （Artificial Intelligence，人工智能），是以机器的智能化为中心。
AI, which concentrates on the intelligence of machines.
IA （Intelligence Augmentation ，智力放大），是以优化人的体验为目的。
IA (Intelligence Augmentation), which aims to optimize human experience.
AI is the hottest technology topic nowadays. There is a lot of exploration and researches on AI technologies and applications but little philosophical thinking about it.
If the industrial revolution inventions in the last century, including cars, planes, machines, etc., freed our hands and did a lot of manual work for us, then the digital revolution in the 21st century has been gradually freeing our brain from mental work.
We all know that in the past 10 years, the AI has been developing at an amazing speed.
Not long ago, the robot could not walk, but now it can backflip.
At that time, AI could not distinguish the difference between a Chihuahua and a blueberry cake, and the face recognition now is of millimeter precision.
AI could not play chess a few years ago, but now AlphaGo has mastered more than 3,000 years’ worth of human Go routines and can easily beat any human players.
As AI researcher Max Tegmark said: the most frightening thing is not that AlphaGo beat the best human chess players but that AlphaGo beat those who built it. Even the researchers and programmers who developed AlphaGo couldn’t explain how it fights itself day and night to acquire superpower.
The progress of AI is inevitable. My dream, when I was a child, is to invent a robot that can do homework for me, and this dream seems to be realized soon. AI works well indeed,if we contemplate it using Socrates’ dialectics, we will need to consider: Is artificial intelligence really beneficial and harmless? Is technology everything?
Technology is as fierce as a cannon, and we must operate it in the right direction. Now, the concept of IKIGAI introduced in the first part can be used. Does technology serve people and help people realize their value and happiness? This leads to the IA we just mentioned, which is about optimizing the human experience. In a word, the purpose of technology is to serve people but not replace us.
As a KOL of cars and technologies, I want to talk about the application of IA in the automotive field.
Technically, it is only a matter of time before autopilot replaces experienced drivers. When a person can’t or doesn’t want to drive, this technology is awesome.
But if only robots drive and human are forbidden to drive, it is very sorrowful for the Akiyama Racing Champion.
The purpose of technology should be increasing the joy of life rather than reducing the freedom of our experience and options.
For example, there are machines in the world that can set you free from all the cooking processes. However, your favorite meals are often cooked by your mother not machine cooked meals with no affection.
Right now, the smartest people in the tech field are trying to figure out how to make machines smarter, while at the same time we all have to think: how will technology evolution lead to more fun and delight?
Like Apple, I discussed in the previous DannyData episodes, represents the IA theory well. We all know that the game experience of Apple is not the best, the camera pixel isn’t the highest by a billion, the charging speed isn’t the fastest, and the screen refresh rate isn’t the highest. However, when it comes to the overall experience of the Apple product ecosystem, Apple will not claim itself as the East or the West top one but has proven itself the obvious global top one. This shows the charm of people-oriented technology.
Another example is Lexus’ multi-stage full-hybrid technology system. This system can simulate 10 gears, eliminating jams while providing a more precise and rhythmic gearshifting experience and realizing the thrill of driving as one unity. It is also the best hybrid system available that combines energy efficiency with powerful performance.
Well, I’ve talked a lot and provided some possible ways to answer that hardest interview question, but what I want to emphasize is the Socratic dialectic and being the one who challenges your own beliefs. As the English novelist Robert Harris once put it so harsh but precise:
One always goes against the current to reach the wellsprings, it is the trash that flows with the current.
Finally, I’d like to share a piece of art that’s been hot lately, called “One-Sided”. The world that you and I see is all about our perspectives. When facing the difficulty of choice, we should maintain a dialectical way of thinking in order to understand this multifaceted and imperfect world. Just as Xu Zhiyuan says in the “Thirteen Invitations”: “In the wide world, be an open-minded person.
I’m Danny, I talk about tech and cars.
还记得开篇的时候，我提到的IKIGAI吗，你从什么角度看世界，这取决于你想成为一个怎样的人，想要过怎样的生活。那么，请你再思考我之前的问题：“你的IKIGAI是什么呢？”，我很喜欢韩寒所说: 我所理解的生活,就是和喜欢的一切在一起。那么你呢？Techs Never Die, 回见。
Remember the IKIGAI that I mentioned in the beginning? How do you see this world depends on what kind of person you want to be and what kind of life you want to live. So let’s think about this question again:”What is you IKIGAI?” I appreciate what Han Han said: Life, according to my understanding, is to be with all that I love. So what about you? Techs Never Die. See you next time.