Techne

The idea of techne –the Greek word for skill-was first introduced to me by Peter Drucker. He describes it as skill that managers need to be aware of and focus on. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly elaborates on the concept. He refines the term to “art, skill, craft or even craftiness.” He calls techne “the ability to outwit circumstances.” This is an essential quality of the freelance boarder. I’ve always said there are boarders that are smarter, faster and better, but I’m craftier. And I care about the craft and the process.

I feel I have to know what technology can accomplish and how it solves the client’s problem. Sometimes one uses Storyboard Pro, sometimes a pencil. It is also important to know how the client is misusing the technology and when to walk away.

In a separate but related internet rambling I saw a video of Neville Brody discussing the need for designers to know the processes in which they work. He said Cassandre and Lautrec had to know what nascent lithographic processes could do to produce their work. Brody embraced web design early on and says it is incumbent on the designer to know what the technology can do to exceed and succeed with it for his client.

The new Kelly book has a number of quotable chapter titles. “The Unabomber was Right” and “Lesson From Amish Hackers.” My favourite Kelly quote from New Rules: “No one can escape the transforming fire of machines.”

As I read, I’ll post more, but I read slowly and I post slower.

See Kelly’s The Technium to the right.

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