Question 344 of 365: Are we ripping the right information?

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A DVD was supposed to be one of the most encrypted physical media types to ever be created. It was supposed to have been the best form of Digital Rights Management, one that would stop pretty much everyone from copying software and movies. The days of dubbing VHS tapes was going to be far in the past and we were going to evolve into this brave new world of legitimate content.

As it turns out, when you make anything into a digital version (like a DVD) it becomes infinitely easier to make copies than its analog cousins. It took one single person to reverse engineer the technology and start us on the path of making legitimate backups of the media that we supposedly owned. Now with things like Handbrake, ripping a DVD is easier than recording a movie on TiVo. The one problem is that no matter how easy it has gotten, we still don’t always know where to start ripping. If we rip the wrong sections or the chapters aren’t in the correct order, we end up getting a jumbled mess of media that neither makes sense nor is watchable.

It isn’t enough to have the information. It isn’t enough to have it in a format that is easily transfered. The most important element is putting the puzzle pieces together.

The key for making a good rip of a hard to figure out DVD is to watch what a DVD player does when it plays the movie. If you can see how it navigates on the disk (just by observing the chapter numbers in the right order) you can figure out just how the sneaky disc engineers had constructed it. Once you have all of that chapter information, it is only a matter of dictating what comes next.

That is why we need such good examples of learning for us to rip. We need to be able to watch others who have figured out how to learn and do business and create something new. We need to stop watching those that get the order all wrong and jumble up their intentions so that they are left with no expertise or fulfillment at the end of their projects. We need to stop looking at success as the only factor in determining value.

We need to stop looking at Facebook as something to emulate.

If I rip Facebook, I am going to get the same kinds of unease and mistrust that users all over the world feel toward the service. I will get the mixed-messages of legitimacy and infantilism that are rampant in the millions of Facebook applications available. I will see everyone as a major competitor and no one as a partner. I will not build things that transfer value, but only things that consume it.

Ripping the right information means watching those who listen to the right people and make things work for everyone involved. We should rip writers of great young adult fiction. They have looked into our condition at our most vulnerable time of change and they have figured out what is important to pull out for the rest of our lives. We should rip those who tell the story of Coming of Age because it is all that we ever do.

We should rip those that sing to their children. They have figured out just the right ways of being themselves and playing a part. They have pursued a consistent sense of wonder in children and they persist in the belief that they can hold on to it. If we can rip that moment of shutting the door on the a contented child’s bedroom as they drift off to sleep then we will be one step closer to figuring out being fulfilled.

We should rip those that make up new card games and sports. They have written the rules for complex systems and then they look for ways to win. They have laid out all of the important moves and then they methodically make them. They are masters of using the same 52 items and presenting them in new patterns. If we are to learn anything about the systems we believe in, we must first rip the systems we create.

We must rip all of these elements because we need to copy and remix what is right in this world. We must emulate and augment the reality that we want to see more of. Being the change doesn’t do any good if your change is based upon the wrong information. Rip the good stuff, and being the change becomes the only option.

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