Listening for learning

We all get bombarded with new things all the time. That's the world we live in.

We all get bombarded with new things all the time. That's the world we live in. Most of us, me included, say "that's cool" and move on. One of the reasons I appreciate Jon Udell is his ability to go beyond the "that's cool" aspect and dig into the why and how of new things.

Jon's been doing a weekly podcast on IT Conversations for a month or so now called Interviews with Innovators and each has lived up to that name. Jon pulls some great information out of each of these interviews.

In his latest, Jon interviews Hugh McGuire, the creator of LibriVox, an open source project that creates audio books using volunteers. Hugh said something in the interview that really resonated with me.

Often, we learn better listening to someone explain something than we do by reading about it. Deep knowledge comes through reading, but audio, especially when you can ask questions, is usually the best way to learn about something new. In a podcast, where the audience can't ask questions, or even offer much feedback, the job of the interviewer is to ask those questions for the audience.

Scott Lemon brought this same issue up this morning in an interview we were doing with John Newton, CTO of Alfresco. Having him on the phone to ask questions of was much more satisfying than reading the Web site or a whitepaper.

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