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There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.

Vannevar Bush in 1945 basically imagined both the personal computer and the internet in his memorex device. But what was also prescient is how he imagined that there would be people that would be needed to sift through and surface interesting information. Whether we respectfully think of this ability to work through the stream of interestingness found on Twitter, Reddit, and okay even blogs as a ‘useful’ – it’s clearly a skill. And an important 21st century skill.

To build this skill we will need to be comfortable with failure. Regular failure and reworking our failures into something that looks less like failure. That’s how trailblazing works. Right? Pull out the machete and hack a path. Then get lost, backtrack, and forge another path based on what  you learned during your misdirection. Eventually you can succeed in building a trail that others might use and follow.

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