Negroponte: Learning to code won't help you get a job

IDG News Service | Oct 27, 2014

MIT Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte spoke at the Design Driven Innovation conference Tuesday and said that coding won't get you a job, but it will help something else.

One Laptop Per Child and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte spoke at the university's Design Driven Innovation conference with strong words for startups. He's asked them to defocus.

Nicholas Negroponte
Founder and Chairman, One Laptop Per Child
My current concern about start up companies is that the new F word is focus. It really drives me crazy when the funders, the shareholders say to somebody focus; you've got to focus. Then you will become cash flow positive by focusing. You're saying wow, we're already taking a small problem and making it smaller and smaller and while that is perhaps good advice in some cases, in many cases, especially when it's so widely given is not so good. So I wish I could almost start a defocus campaign to get people to be much more interested in what happens out in the peripheral vision versus in your foveal vision.

Negroponte also talked the idea that learning how to code could get you a job. He said that shouldn't be the aim.

And I love it that people are learning how to code, but it's the next sentence that bothers me. Comma and it will help you get a job. And that you are going to learn how to code such that you can work at Google X. And no. I think the comma is because that will help you think about thinking. And you will actually learn about learning. In other words it makes you a better mind. It's so true, yet almost no one says that. It's this constant learn how to code and get a job, which is a rather pathetic way of thinking about it.

In Cambridge, Nick Barber, IDG News Service.