You cannot do it all and it’s okay

One of the trends in the women’s empowerment movement is to expect and push women to be all-rounders. The call is to know and do everything independently and magnificently – manage the house budget, know how to do the taxes, help with the school work, deliver the work presentation, deck up for the family or social event, mind the Ps and Qs, develop a competitive mindset – and much more. The demand is to do it all with aplomb and impeccably. To create gender equality, society burdened women with the responsibility of being successful, within and outside the home.

Perfection is the barometer of this empowerment. It is exhausting to be projected as the domestic goddess and the work maverick with many arms. Women are expected to strive more, go the extra mile, adjust, sacrifice, have their choices questioned, and at the end of it all be perfect. This concept and expectation are flawed.

True empowerment is to allow women to decide and execute what is best for them, and within their capacity, even if imperfect. The goal of every woman is not to shatter the glass ceiling or acquire the corner office, or a place in the C-suite. The goal is to contribute and exercise the potential to elevate oneself mentally, spiritually, and economically. The social worker is doing an amazing job, so is the teacher, doctor, scientist, or the woman who wants to start a business from home, or wants to quit a job to stay home.

It’s all okay. An effort may not win an award or have a cushy label attached to it, or feature on a magazine cover. Each woman should be empowered to pursue happiness and success, on her terms, without the need to be perfect but with the courage and the resources to support her choices.

Also read – the difference amongst job, career, and calling.

Mantra for simple, effective communication

Read my previous post here – Art and Technology

I am back with some more observations around the intricate depictions in The Billion Dollar Code, a 2021 German television miniseries on Netflix. Since this piece is related to the last episode and centers around the courtroom drama, it has a few spoilers.

Two things drew my attention in episode 4. The first was an emphasis on body language and gesture as tools of effective communication. The second was the impact of simplifying complex technical material into plain language, amplified with a simple flowchart.

When ART+COM founders – Carsten Schlüter and Juri Müllerare – are assigned to meet a body language specialist to train for grooming, appearance, gestures, and breaking into a closed conversation, they are not impressed. At the stand in the courtroom, the duo realizes the significance of everything that was taught to them. They bring the lessons into practice with some benefit.

Communication is an exchange of information between two or more parties. It breaks down when there is no interchange of ideas. A strong verbal communicator can dominate and influence the entire course of a discussion and hence the decisions. It is important to imbibe the skills of effective communication. This implies being able to get one’s words across and also understanding the body language and psyche of the communicator. It is also imperative to convey one’s stance with gestures and expressions of confidence. Being poised and impressive is beneficial to add weight to the matter being expressed.

Presentations are an important communication tool. Experts in any field are so engrossed in the intricacies that they find it hard to break it down to the basics. As a technical communicator, I see this in the field of information technology also. The subject matter experts want every bit of information documented. The users want to know only what enables them to complete simple actions. The technical communicator bridges this gap and how – by sieving through the information and using plain, simple, minimalistic language, supported by graphics to convey the essentials. A similar scene plays out in the courtroom where the expert who explains the technical jargon through a simple diagram and in easy to infer terms, sways the jury in their favor. 

Knowledge is impactful only when it is communicated and presented in the language of the users. Recognizing the personas of your target audience to bring out intricate information in the most relatable content and style is the only way to nail it. Keep it simple, keep it smart. Present it plainly, convey it confidently. This remains an effective mantra for the effective communicator.

Art and technology

I am watching The Billion Dollar Code, a 2021 German television miniseries on Netflix, and it struck me that art and technology are interconnected. Terravision, the purported precursor of Google Earth was conceived as an art project. The team funded by Deutsche Telekom consisted of more artistic than technical people.

In episode 2, when Juri Müller conceptualizes the future of Terravision, an algorithm that ties together satellite images of the Earth, he says, “now it is empty, only form. But what happens if we fill it with content?” He elaborates, “If you fill Terravision with content, it would become a portal to a database with the knowledge of the whole world.” The leading duo goes on to speak about virtual reality.

I cannot but smile at the use of the keywords – content, database, knowledge, portals. Technology is potent but it is just a shell that needs to be filled with the right content and marketing to explore its full potential. A code can be written and a graphical element designed only after an idea is conceived. Ideas and thoughts are a part of the creative mental process involving intuition, inspiration, logic, reasoning, research, and imagination, which are eventually expressed on the drawing board. This expression is art!

The soul of technology is art. Without aesthetics, technology may not touch human lives. We want slim Smart TVs, foldable devices, colored straps for smartwatches, and a touch of beauty and style in all of our technology-enhanced lives. Innovation is a popular keyword in technology and engineering organizations. Being innovative is being creative and every innovation starts with art and creativity.

As a technical communicator, I find myself at the intersection of art and technology; creativity and code. It is the byline that describes everything I strive for in my professional life. I want to see and bring out the soulful side of technology, through relevant content that connects people with their devices. I am a creative person who believes in the future of technology, and for me, art and technology are inseparable.

The Silent Sea – A compelling sci-fi thriller

Must watch for sci-fi lovers!

Trailer – The Silent Sea

Climate change, state-sponsored controversial and secret research and space exploration have intrigued the human mind for a long time. From questions and activism to conspiracy theories and some inspired fiction, we have tried to make sense of our world. Science-fiction as a genre has flourished on intrigues and extreme imagination and has sometimes become prophetic.

When I watched The Silent Sea on Netflix, I wondered if some of this was true. What if years of space explorations have led to some discoveries that are privy to the high and mighty? With the sudden spurt in space-related activities, as we battle a pandemic, nothing seems improbable!

The Silent Sea, a 2021 South Korean sci-fi mystery thriller, is an adaptation of the 2014 short film, The Sea of Tranquility. IMBD trivia says this is the first sci-fi space drama to be attempted in Korea. This Korean drama or K-drama starts at a slow pace, which is the hallmark of most space-bound series. I believe it’s a deliberate attempt to chip away at the romantic imagery of space travel. Space is dark, uninviting, boring, and dangerous. The thrill is not because things move fast, but the disenchantment is that time stands still in closed confines. In this series, the eerie corridors of an artificially lit space station are abuzz with adrenaline-soaked action.

A brooding astrobiologist joins a team of cherry-picked professionals to go to the Moon and recover a mysterious sample from the abandoned Balhae lunar research station in a 24-hour secret mission. The Earth is already barren, and water is more precious than any commodity. In a dystopian future of rationing and misery, we start with the stark realities of climate change, hitting us with tawny and pale dust. In contrast, the grayish and detailed lunar surface is intimidating and inviting.

The 8-episodes series packs in a lot of punch and strikes nearly all the boxes. We get regular doses of adventure, excitement, mystery, conflict, confusion, secrets, thrill, fear, suspense, human dynamics and emotions, and the eternal question of ethics. The element that binds the series together is that of trust. The fabric of trust is often ripped apart as the story progresses – from trusting your government, your colleagues, family members to your instincts.

At some places, the scenes linger on, but there is always a twist that leaves you thinking. They do not show the crew sleeping or eating, and I found it an interesting detail. The cinematography is excellent. Production has gone into details, from lighting to gadgets, and it all ties up well together. The unique storyline is a big draw and a win because it stretches the imagination, yet it is not implausible. I would have loved to delve into so many aspects, but none can be without a spoiler. An interested viewer has to take undertake this journey to draw their conclusions.

On the lunar landscape, the crew discovers anomalies and surprising elements. The series-makers give an exciting revelation, even at the end. As with most series, the pertinent question to ask is will there be a season 2? A work of art is successful when it leaves you contemplative and not craving for more, though I can see scope for a prelude series. I opine some things are best left to the imagination for a lasting impact. The Silent Sea leaves you pondering and with a powerful impression, and that should remain untampered.

My debut as editor of a published book

Today marks my debut as the Editor of a published book – The Shadow Prophecy: Shadow Wolf Trilogy #1. I had the honor to work on the Shadow Prophecy as a pro bono Editor. It was an enthralling journey.

I met Rae Egan through the writing community forum on Twitter. She was looking for editorial inputs and I offered to help. Rae and I collaborated for over 2 months using Google Docs and messengers. Without speaking with each other on phone or voice chat we created a workable collaboration that enabled a quick turnaround.

The entire project was made possible by Rae’s acceptance of guidance and feedback. She explained to me themes and storylines when I posed questions. With each passing day, the book 📚 gripped me with the mystery of the Shadow Prophecy.

I wish self-published author Rae Egan all the best on the launch of her book. She needs our encouragement as she works on the trilogy. After reading book 1, you will want more of this young adult fiction.

This book would not have been made possible without the help of my amazing editor Aneesha Shewani. Her time and dedication went above and beyond anything I could have imagined. If you have enjoyed my book please follow her on Twitter @felinemusings

Rae Egan
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