The entrepreneur as a (pop-)cultural icon shapes a universal ideal of hypomanic personality traits, but also an insecurity of not being enough. Self-help tries to provide help using this ideal that makes help necessary in the first place. This is reflected in self-help measures like self-help literature or free online entrepreneurial potential assessment, with congratulations often given after successful completion.
The registered instructional self-help book "Congratulations, 1000% Entrepreneurial Potential" contains the 1000 most often appearing items+answers. It is self-help in the sense of conveying the entrepreneurial spirit as a universal ideal, but also for successfully completing the online assessments themselves. The book shows the ambiguity between conveyed personality traits and the reason online assessments are legitimized in the first place – insecurity.
In the moment of procrastination, we live with a constant feeling of guilt: free time translates into wasted time since it fails to serve labor productivity. The gesture of self-optimization can be interpreted as a gesture of procrastination,
with the difference that the former disguises our feeling of guilt. Self-optimization is self-sustaining; our initiating self-optimization allows the consumption of optimization content to continue further. Quite pragmatically, optimization leads
to more optimization...
"How to?" tutorial videos exist basically endless in quantity and constitute one of the most common medium of self-optimization. The nature of this medium is ambiguous in whether it is trying to teach or to entertain, which exactly disguises the feeling of guilt. "How to?" generates a continual "How to?" tutorial stream when the user inputs a question, questioning whether this is a gesture of individual self-optimization or endless procrastination.
Finn Jakob Reinhardt
A distinction can be made between specific and unspecific software-related data access. The specific access is reflected in the way we articulate ourselves through using a SearchBar. We find the answers to our needs and problems that are driven by an individual's desires. Nevertheless, the amount of data gathered on websites appears to be too large. A speculative form of sorting, categorization and curation is required - the unspecific access. Examples of unspecific access are categories, forecast and recommendation systems, which try to anticipate users’ desires, but often end up creating new ones.
By removing the SearchBar, we are exposed to an ideological software anticipation. We no longer have the opportunity to articulate our own needs and problems but are always torn between frustration and hope that the desired information could still appear.