TED Blogs • December 8, 2011
The psychology of desire. Check out this interview with advertising guru Rory Sutherland for some fascinating insights into human behavior and motivation. As participants in today's "experience" economy, Sutherland may make you think twice about what you thought was important to your customers.
He's got a pretty colorful way of urging that you actually listen to your customers rather than just follow your expert staff and your traditional operating practices. Consider his hotel example where the doorman grabs your bag and spirits it away for the bellman. Do you like that? I also learned a new economics concept "negative positional externality" which he uses to suggest that education has increasingly become a "positional good" playing a small role in creating valuable minds but great at filtering candidates for certain types of corporations. ( Michalko)
American Scientist • January-February 2012
Deconstruction. Statisticians Andrew Gelman and Kaiser Fung take a second look at the unorthodox analytical methodology celebrated in Steven Levitt's and Stephen Dubner's Freakonomics blog and followup book, SuperFreakonomics. Check out this call for a balanced approach toward information that does not sacrifice accuracy for entertainment.
The authors highlight some interesting cases of fast and loose analysis in the various Freakonomics output. It's hard for me to tell if these are the result of the kind of internalized erroneous behavioral tendencies on the part of Levitt and Dubner or a normal error rate against their enormous output. I'd like it to be the latter— Freakonomics was the first e-book I bought. ( Michalko)
Technology Review • December 9, 2011
The future is flat. The story of Kodak's surrender in the face of a digital revolution has served as a cautionary tale against monopolistic hubris, but this essay by Christian Sandström takes another look at the camera giant's challenges and concludes it's not that the company didn't see digital coming—it's that Kodak's vertically integrated business model just couldn't scale to the new reality of a commodity industry.
The disrupted industry tale told briefly but compellingly. Most interesting to me was a suggestion in the comments that "They thought they were in the in the [sic] picture business, but in reality their expertise was in microchemistry . . ." And they could have moved sidelong into medical imaging and related industries where volume was lower but margins much higher not unlike IBM's leaping into the deep pool of consulting services. ( Michalko)
Vanity Fair • January 2012
Comfort zone. Writer Kurt Andersen's analysis of U.S. cultural history over the last 20 years highlights our penchant for the same old same old—as evidenced in our recycling of everything from television and Broadway shows to music, architecture and fashion. With the exception of information technology, our focus on nostalgia may signal "the beginning of American civilization's new chronic condition, a permanent loss of appetite for innovation and the shockingly new." Or not—read the article to see if you agree with Andersen's assessment that 2011 looks just like 1991.
He's not wrong about the pants . . . ( Michalko)
Innovation Tools • November 29, 2011
Picture this. Danielle Feliciano's advice on thinking laterally and embracing failure echoes other creativity experts', but her remarks about visualization are worth a look. So often we gain new insights through innovative imagery, and Feliciano's point is that we don't have to rely on others for visual stimulation—this is something we can practice on our own to broaden our thinking.
This extremely short admonitory piece is even more briefly summarized in my artist partner's mantra—"You have to put miles on the brush and paint a bunch of crappy things on the way to getting good." ( Michalko)
Above the Fold Quiz
According to an item in this week's News and Views section, by using Web identifiers and standardized vocabularies to describe entities, the Linked Data approach facilitates what?
Get the answer.