Have you ever thought of how funny the newspaper game is? Billions of dollars are spent around the world publishing news which can sell to millions before 10am, but is worthless after it. Once you’ve had your morning tea news gossip, you may as well have never read the paper.

 

A newspaper’s value seems to be in the newness, and not any sort of lasting value change (hence the name I guess). A magazine retains it’s value for a little longer (before retiring to doctors waiting rooms), and then a book seems to be longer again. We just don’t seem all that interested in yesterday’s news.

So what’s going on?

Newspapers report mostly information, rather than helping us tie facts into any sort of grand understanding of the universe. I’ve written before about the different layers of information, and it feels like newspapers hang down at the data and information levels rather than playing up at the peak with wisdom and understanding.

So what’s the issue?

The issues arise when we start thinking of all things as loosing their value as quickly as news does. Old movies? A dollar will do, and keep it for a week. Old business books? I don’t want to waste my time with outdated management techniques.

What’s the fix?

It’s not so much a fix as a focus shift, but if you can start to see through our obsession with ‘information recency’, life kind of gets more interesting. Some examples:

  • Apple design isn’t the latest thing, it’s the 60’s thing, as classic Dieter Rams. In fact most of the really ‘on it’ brands have found old-school sources for their inspiration. They are just sources we’d all forgotten about, so they feel fresh again.
  • Speaking of design, do you want to refine your eye for what makes good architecture, fashion or even movies? Don’t look at the new stuff, as you’ll be overly impressed by all the latest tricks and gimmicks. Instead, look back at older stuff and you’ll start to understand what the fads were versus the truly lasting elements. Stewart Brand put it well when he said “Style is time’s fool. Form is time’s student.”
  • Go back and check some of your most insightful Twitter follows first tweets: http://www.mytweet16.com/ Often, they have a better concentration of great links that they’d been waiting for something like Twitter to come along so they could share them.
  • While Hipster style can be a little contrived, the ideals of it make great sense. CS Lewis nailed it when he said “Newness is no virtue; oldness is no fault.” Forget when it was created, just value good stuff!