Ethan Crane

Haywards Heath, United Kingdom

About Ethan

I'm passionate about

The detrimental effects of the modern work ethic

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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Ethan Crane
Posted 8 months ago
Harish Manwani: Profit’s not always the point
The speaker's points are, I'm sure, entirely well-intentioned, and I believe he is sincere about wanting social responsibility to be taken seriously by companies. I'm sure he thinks that what he has done in his own job is socially responsible. But although he says Unilever were not just about selling soap – in the final summation of what they did and do, selling soap is their main objective. By their main objective I mean it is the goal on which they can be measured on and held to account – measured by their profit margins, and held to account by shareholders who will decrease the value of their company by selling shares if they think the profits are going down. No one holds Unilever to account over how well they do with their social programmes – how can we really tell how well these programmes have worked? Where profits are held to account and social actions are not, profits will always win out when hard decisions have to be made. I do not believe it is possible to hold such high ideals when profits are still hold the top spot on a company's agenda. Until companies are able to put profits second, or even equal first with social good (and I'm not sure how this is even possible when shares and shareholders exist) such high ideals are just fancy words. For me it is why such ideals always sound so hollow in the mouths of companies and their executives – because I do not believe they have the power to back them up. I really hope that companies can change to allow what the speaker promotes to happen. But right now I don't believe that they are actually able to prioritise these social goods. www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted 9 months ago
Yves Morieux: As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify
Why are employees disengaged at work? I don't think it has much to do with the reasons suggested by Yves Morieux here. Whether there is a simple or complex structure of organization in a company, employees still have to deal with one big problem: that they do not genuinely care for the outcomes of the work that they do. We say that we care about car building or whatever in our interview – and our managers throw celebratory events to encourage us to celebrate when the company is successful. But what is the success of the company to its individual workers. The values that an individual employee cares about, the values that if satisfied might lead to engagement at work – seeing others benefit from valuable work that they do, say – have nothing to do with the values of a company, which is to sell as many of the things they make or do as possible. It is this disconnect between the companies values and an employees values that make us feel disengaged. When I used to work for corporations I did not feel like celebrating their successes – I felt like a mug for having a drink on the company because of their sales figures for the quarter. Why would I care? I'd had to work hard for their success, but why would I feel good about it? True engagement from work comes outside of paid employment, when you can truly feel satisfaction from work that you do, based upon your personal values. Work for an employer only ends in disengagement, whatever the structure of the organization. www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 1 year ago
Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?
Ted – it's great if you have found work that you really value, and it makes you a living as a byproduct. But I think in general we have to be careful that our priorities always remain this way round, with the love of the work first and the money-making second – and note that this is not an easy thing to do. I've seen many people set up as self-employed doing work that they love, and then work themselves to death because it is their source of income, to the point where they have forgotten why they loved it in the first place. Personally I'm happier when I don't have to rely on the work I do for meaning to bring me money. And I don't think it matters if this means I only have a day or so a week to spend on it. Truly meaningful work does not have to be full-time, and perhaps is better if it is not so. That way we can keep focused on what it is about the work that fascinates us. regards Ethan www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 1 year ago
Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?
The source of fulfillment in our lives is meaningful work. But it has to be work that we personally value. And the problem is that we always look for this meaning from our paid work, from our career. In my experience we will never find this meaning when the primary reason for the work is money. However meaningful the work, satisfaction is obliterated by the pressures of deadlines, of overwork, of bosses' demands. Because however well-meaning a boss might be, they are under pressure from their own boss to make the company work efficiently. Your meaning is never a consideration. I have been fortunate (or so I thought at the time) to have had career jobs in television, film and publishing. It took me years to realise that genuine meaning was never going to be found in a career that I depended upon for my income. Just the other day I read the eulogies from the workers at LucasArts (George Lucas' games company) when it closed (http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/47313047130) – they may have worked for a very prestigious company, but their personal lives were ruined in the process. For me the mistake is to look for meaning in the work we do for money. Meaning comes if when we devise our own work: in traditional arts, in charity work, or whatever we value. But not for money, or not primarily for money. Now I earn money in work I don't really care about, but which gives me time to write and follow the creative pursuits I value, as well as spend more time with my family and friends. And my life has more meaning. Of the happiest adults I know, barely any work a 9-5 job. They live cheaply, needing less money because they have meaning from their own creative work. It is hard, especially when young, to identify the creative work that will give us meaning. But in the words of Steven Soderbergh: 'It's the same process as anything: identifying who your heroes are, figuring out what they did, and then just going and doing it. On work and happiness: www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 1 year ago
Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?
Absolutely... the industrial worker making the pin, even if allowed to do all 12 steps, might be taking more meaning that if they just did one step – but only slightly more than no meaning. Adam Smith only meant that efficiency is better for the factory owner, it meant nothing for the worker.
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 2 years ago
Rory Sutherland: Perspective is everything
Much of what Rory Sutherland says about reframing makes a lot of sense. There is no argument with the idea that cleaning up a restaurant increases its value for customers, because no one has lost out: the owners have a cheap improvement to their business and customers have a better time eating there. But we cannot say that no one has lost out when the same reframing idea is applied to advertising and marketing. Rory wants to say that when an advertiser increases the perceived value of a product, say by associating sex and glamour with a perfume through a television advert, the customer may feel more value in the perfume because of the advertisting. (Though the quantity and duration of this happiness is questionable.) But the customer's purchasing happiness has effects in other areas of their life. Advertising wants us to buy more and more products at higher prices, that is its purpose. But to do so a customer must earn more and more money, and the stress of needing to earn this money, and the impact that time spent working has on their relations with family and friends subtracts from this purchasing happiness. It may tip the sum total the other way into misery. There are also the effects of the individual's purchasing happiness on the rest of society. Overworked individuals earning money to buy more products have less time to work at the relations between people that make for a good society. And more products means more materials required to make them which impacts upon the environment. Reframing is a great psychological device. But when applied to marketing and advertising, the negative values outweigh the positive perceived value. www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 2 years ago
Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity
I love Ken Robinson. He constantly reiterates how society does not value creativity enough, and it’s great that someone in such a prominent position is saying these things. But I disagree with the reasons he gives for why creativity is important – that it is important because creativity is what is needed in the modern workplace. To dream up new products and services for your employer is not the reason to value creativity. It is a better way to work than to have your every move dictated by a boss in a Victorian factory for sure. But it is still using your creative ideas to sell mobile phones, or create websites to sell insurance, or design animated characters to entice children to spend money on your employers website. Are ends such as these really how you imagine using your passions? The number of jobs where you are fulfilling goals about which you are enthusiastic is tiny. And if the impetus for your creative ideas does not come from yourself then a large part of the pleasure of fulfilling them is taken away. Even if you have a job say, designing the covers of books, a job many people would love to do, the pleasure of creation is diminished by all the hassles of working for a company. It is very far from the pleasure of creating something of your own. To be fair to Ken Robinson, I’m sure the uses for creativity in the workplace of which he is thinking are the tiny minority of jobs where you have great freedom to follow your passion: scientific research, for example. But very few people get to do this, and we should not delude young people with the idea that it is likely to happen to them in their paid work. Having a creative part of your life is too important to be left to chance in a career. (more on this at www.ethancrane.com)
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 2 years ago
David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence
Very good talk... you can see the enthusiasm of someone who has recognised that everyone has a creative side to them and is so keen to let everyone in on the secret... When people think of creativity I think it is often limited to pursuits in what are traditionally thought of as 'the arts': drawing, painting, etc. But for me doing art is any pursuit which fills you with that feeling of creative pleasure, whether it be photography or fixing a bike or even raising funds for a charity. Many activities can be approached creatively, it's a case of trying out to see which of them are the ones that fill us with this pleasure. The important thing, in my opinion, is that we follow these creative pursuits for their own sakes, and not as a route to some kind of career. Following creative interests for an employer is the best way to kill them off. Creativity is a human need just like a good diet and exercise. www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted over 2 years ago
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career
I agree Khon about the word 'career', it always smacks of paid work for an employer, and something that you are going to do for your whole life... whereas the things that we are passionate about and that will fulfil our lives are not that at all... For me we should tell children from an early age that the following and crafting of their passion is far more important than what work they do to pay for rent and food. Having a passion will sustain them and the sustenance work they do to support this is fairly irrelevant. So few people are saying what Larry is saying, that the ambition of being CEO of some company or other is no kind of fulfilment of a career ambition. More of this on TED please! Ethan Crane more essays on this kind of thing at www.ethancrane.com
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Ethan Crane
Posted almost 3 years ago
What's one thing you wish you had learned in school?
Carla – completely agree. The happiest adults I know are the ones who take their self-worth from anywhere but their work they must do to pay the bills. Children need to be shown much more how to point their creative energies towards the things they are interested in, and this usually has nothing to do with finding a job or making money.