The fear of becoming irrelevant

Mariana Aldrigui
Aug 3, 2017 · 3 min read

Originally published in Brasilturis Jornal — Ed. 802 — page 08

There are several researchers studying time and checking if it has actually been going by faster. The first conclusion is it has not, although there is evidence of the loss of some seconds per year along the last few years. One second seems irrelevant. Even though, we are all sure that, as things stand, there is no time to do everything one wants to do. Thus, in the subjective universe, time actually is going by faster.

There is too much to handle, especially in the technological advances field. Many of us still have fond, nostalgic memories of how jealous we felt when we saw the first brick phone hanging out from our friend’s pocket, the one weighing almost one kilo, equipped with a retractable antenna and whose function was “only” making and receiving calls. And comments on how showy that was and that there was no need to have a phone with you all the time.

With so many people dedicated to innovation, and so many things changing, it is impressive — at least to me — how hard some people fight to prevent changes from getting to them or forcing them to do something. At the same time, there are also peculiar trends to try to keep the status quo amid so many novelties.

Some examples:

- I recently heard of a lecturer who forbids the use of notebooks in the classroom. In 2017. He claims the students should dedicate their attention exclusively to what he has to say. Again, in 2017. And students are those people who were born in the late 1990s, already amid an information bombardment, and whose attention span is never over 15 minutes, and who, curious by nature, usually promptly check if what the teacher is saying can be corroborated in the real world;

- Still within academic life, I know of other lecturers who threaten students with ancient practices, such as surprise tests, oral tests, attendance control at different moments in the class — the pedagogical pranks — which have already — a long time ago — been replaced with interactive activities engaging students in real world research, using different technologies available and providing the professor with the role of an effective advisor on knowledge construction, not Mr. Know-it-all;

- Travel agents providing options that are the most convenient ones for themselves (concerning partnerships and commissions) and less interesting for the customers. Certainly there still are customers who do not make their own searches and accept the options provided, but many people nowadays may dictate the search to their phone and get a lot of useful information. By simply exchanging ideas with someone who has already travelled, the information available on the Internet seems much more reliable than those some agents provide;

- Hotel owners who really believe that co-hosting (such as Airbnb) shall replace hotels, and then spread inaccurate information, making all kinds of effort and alliances to fight the “enemy”, instead of doing something to attract more tourists.

In my role as a lecturer and researcher, I guarantee students access much faster the contents they are interested in. The relevant professor shall be the one who is able to show the best ways to connect the contents into knowledge packs applicable to several realities.

When buying trips, the relevant professionals shall be those who guide me in the process of composing the best experience for my profile — within the budget provided, including whatever is required to make the trip go smooth, and having useful data to appropriately prepare expectations. If buying a trip requires me to explain more than once what I need, then it is easier to buy it myself, online.

Concerning hotel owners, I feel it’s time they travel more and use Airbnb to understand it is about different audiences, having different expectations. And if you are the manager of a simpler and more basic hotel, do not miss the opportunity to identify yourself as such. Many people have already used Airbnb and miss hotels.

In a nutshell, staying relevant implies understanding the other’s context, being an empath and giving up on determining how they should act. Observe the groups around you, talk (much) more to your customers and also to the ones who are not and will not be your customers — that may inspire you to do more and better.