AAAAAAAARGH! With a scream from this toes, Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk demonstrates the frustration he experiences regularly when he is confronted with the complexity of world problems.
Despite this frustration, he has accepted the great challenge: by using the opportunities of Internet journalism, he tries to make complicated problems understandable and even fun. Luyendijk is a journalist, the author of four books, and currently keeps a banking blog for The Guardian. In this project, his mission is to discover – by almost anthropological methods – the unwritten rules of bankers’ code of conduct. In his posts, he points out the position of women in the city of London, elevator gossip tweets and the reasons why Karl Marx would make a good hedge fund manager. He certainly does meet his objective to make finance interesting and entertaining.
Manipulation in the City
His banking blog provides the opportunity to speak with some rather remarkable people. He tells the story of one of the recruiters he met in the financial district of London. “A recruiter told me that she had completely changed, and ended up cheating, lying and manipulating in order to headhunt talented bankers from their competitors. The worst part, she said, was that she was good at it.”
Internet’s help to understand our world
One of the basic tenets of his approach is that he makes use of the input of readers. As Luyendijk learns more about a new topic, he invites his readers to ask him their questions. Their questions and suggestions contributed to his series on electrical cars for NRC Handelsblad as well as his current banking blog. Whilst discovering these topics himself, Luyendijk directly shares his newly acquired knowledge with the readers.
Through these projects, Luyendijk discovered the great function of the Internet as a tool to share his learning curve. The big advantage of the Internet is that it circumvents the difficulties of print media. With his weekly colum on electrical cars, he would discuss a certain topic, such as buffer capacity. Then the next week, in the new column, he would have to explain this complicated topic again for new readers, whilst experienced readers would be bored. Internet is to the rescue.
Share your own learning curve
The great thing about the Internet, Luyendijk says, is that he is able to put all these surprises on his learning curve – all the little lightbulbs, as he says – on the web and make them visible to the public. On the blog, he doesn’t have the problem he had with the electrical car columns. “Now, we can build a department store of brain food. In this store, new clients are welcomed by a personal shopper who explains the basics. Regular customers are pointed to the corner with the new collection”. Join Joris step by step as he gives insight in his learning curve. Or even better: dig in a topic about which you don’t know anything and share your own learning curve on the web!