PhD or Die Trying: The Introduction

PhD: Piled Higher and Deeper
Jorge Cham runs the almighty Piled Higher and Deeper online comic strip…

It’s been a long time since I had a good chat with my academic advisor / blogologist, Alex Halavais. Last Friday, he made it a point to check in on my progress via Skype and we laid down a few milestones to hit this Summer and Fall. Besides trading juicy gossips, we agreed that sharing research ideas online might be an idea worth experimenting with. Some grad students do that through dissertation blogs, but I am going to mix it in right here with everything else.

Here’s why we think it’s a good idea:
1. Combines things I already like to do (blogging + research).
2. Makes my thoughts really actionable (even you can give me feedback).
3. Motivates since the PhD process becomes transparent (kick me when I slack!)

Here’s why we think it’s a bad idea:
1. Ideas get stolen
2. Ideas get stolen
3. Ideas get stolen

I’ve said it three times since it will likely be that bad. Typically, the first to market wins. Still, I’m pushing ahead with this because it is my personal challenge to work fast. Starting this week, you’ll see my new personal series entitled “PhD or Die Trying” where I’ll be pushing myself to mentally and physically to get two qualifying papers defended, the dissertation proposal done, and hopefully finally, my actual dissertation writing.

It’ll be an arduous journey and you’ll be exposed to a lot of brainstorms (i.e. unrefined, horrible ideas), but it’s very real and will hopefully be as entertaining as reality tv.

Barf bag anyone?

10 thoughts on “PhD or Die Trying: The Introduction

  1. this sounds weird, but since my friends read my blog too, i put my essays up online when it’s done so that they can view it, and i think i actually discussed what went through my head once, and they pulled me up when i kinda… got distracted.

    but staying on track with your idea, i think it’s great. to prevent theft though, the only thing i can suggest is to pdf every thing, unless you are just running thoughts through (like questions that are to be answered within your dissertations).

    *sits and waits for a barrage of ideas to flow through*

  2. Just a thought, Kevin. Sure, “Ideas Get Stolen”. Sometimes that’s called “word of mouth”, heh heh. Seriously though, I suppose it all boils down to what we want to achieve by making ideas “public”, and a question of potential gains Vs tradeoffs.

  3. Hey.. you and me should a race to the finish line.. that would help both of us motivate hehe.. thanx man

  4. Panda, Ivan, Peter: As you guys have mentined, sharing ideas online really boils down to one thing: Motivation. I’ll put myself up as the “guinea pig” so you guys can see whether it works.

    Oh yes, if anyone wants to race with me, you’d better make a list of to-dos you need to accomplish first ­čÖé

  5. hi,
    i have recently decided to put my research ideas online too. yes, i am afraid that the ideas might be stolen. but academic life must have interaction. the dude who talked during my graduation ceremony a few years ago said that if your ideas are so easy to be stolen then that probably means they’re not that original anyway. i wonder.

  6. and besides, don’t worry, writing a Ph.D. is always about stealing ideas, then erasing your tracks. my professor once told me that Ph.D. should really stand for Doctor of Photocopy

  7. I am writing a PhD – albeit in a very different field – and I also encoutered the question of whether to put my work up on my site. My supervisor suggested not disseminating it to far before something is published (the ‘ideas get stolen’ issue) but I ended up putting it all up online anyway. I mean, at conferences my papers get distributed even if there is no proceedings issued (hell – I pass ’em out to people who ask!) and people working in the same field as me exchange papers so we can keep in touch with the work. If someone is going to steal my ideas, they will do it whether or not they find my space on the web. That’s my $0.02.

    Good luck with the PhD, by the way, from a fellow traveller.

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