Comic relief

Why more leads to less, viewed economically

Sometimes there's something you know but you need to hear it in a new way, in a way that it sticks out better in your thinking. Sometimes you need to hear it several different ways until you think, I KNOW this... why don't I act like I know it??  Tq131118db

I bought Brooks Palmer's Clutter Busting a couple of years ago, and it helped. Now I'm reading about Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But what's really sticking out are the remarks by economics journalist Tim Harford, who rephrases things into the format of behavioral economics. 

1. Status quo bias: the tendency to let things stay. When my kids were teenagers I fought this at the doorway, occasionally refusing to let things, especially things they had received, but didn't really want, even come into the house. 'Cause I knew they'd stay forever. 

2. Diminishing returns: Classic 'too much of a good thing.' Especially clothes and books. This is hard to combat unless we use a one-in, one-out rule. 

3. Opportunity cost: The more we have, the more we've got to take care of. Even if we don't buy more storage space, we still pay the price... 

The Undercover Economist: Why more and more means less, 2015-Jan-6 by Tim Harford

...there’s also the cost of being unable to appreciate what you have because it’s stuck at the bottom of a crate underneath a bunch of other things you have...

Proofing pain

When I worked at the Houston office of the Ogilvy ad adgency, we had a full-time proofreader. It was an amazing experience, but they don't fit into most business models. Usually, proofreading is something employees do for one another.  Tq-120828-hd

For small business owners like myself, proofreading is something my customers and prospects do! Painful but true. Have pity. 

Moz: Google-leaked Dos and Don'ts, 2014-Dec-5 by Josh Bachynski

You want to make sure that the spelling and grammar has been checked, that all the pages have been checked for errors, that there are no miscellaneous 500 errors, there are no naked Apache 404 errors. You want to make sure that, essentially, the website has been looked over and proofed. This is, as Google tells us, a direct signal that they're looking for in their quality algorithms. It makes sense because you don't want to see a site that has these kinds of errors on it.

Biggest mistake we make with social media: going for the Like

When we treat social media as if they are publicity tools, we undermine ourselves. Our posts ought to direct people how to participate in a dialogue that leads to co-operative action. 

Tq141119bdOver at The Bloggess, Jenny is founding a new religion, Blogessianism, as part of her ongoing effort to get everyone to take the world lightly. Extra gravy for all. Remember, "You may decline on the gravy, or give your gravy as a charitable contribution to those less gravied." Now make your own title and spread the word.

Medium: Innovation Lessons from Taylor Swift, 2014-Nov-9 by Saul Kaplan isn’t about pushing a message out to potential customers, its about pulling people into a movement.

Making networking meaningful

I wish I could find the story about Jenny Lawson Tq140425 going to an event at a bookstore where she was supposed to meet people, and she crawled under the table to hide. But the words "hiding" "under the table" and "bookstore" seem to occur too frequently on her blog. Anyway, it was hysterical, as usual.

I am making a pledge to follow her lead and focus on connecting with people. It's hard to remember who you met if you didn't learn something interesting about the person. So each person you meet, you have to FIND something memorable about them. Or you could just take Jenny's new approach...

The Bloggess: Secret Code Word, 2014-Apr-6 by Jenny Lawson

Whenever I’m at large events and I’m asked to write my name on those “HELLO, MY NAME IS” stickers I instead write ”Watermelon is the secret code word.”

What Zuckerberg was thinking

The purchase of Oculus Rift did not arrouse my curiosity, but when Dave Pell of NextDraft pointed to a story by Lev Grossman... I figured out why Zuckerberg got so excited. And I must admit, it's pretty exciting! Any technology that helps people do things, as opposed to doing things to them--that's worth understanding. The Virtual Genius of Oculus Rift, 2014-Mar-26 by Lev Grossman

Iribe says “It’s kind of like the beginning of film. It’s going to take this whole new set of mechanics and engineering to master it. We have no idea what really works in VR. People ask us, What’s the holy-grail app going to be? I have no idea! Don’t know.” The uncertainty doesn’t bother him....

“I think people have always wanted to experience the impossible,” Luckey says. “That’s one of the reasons games have caught on. They want to actually do things themselves, have a say in how that world works, instead of just watching someone else do it.”

TFS: Making up stories to remember the truth

Our brains are not wired to quickly grasp statistical realities. We crave cause and effect. Over the centuries some of our best thinkers have tried to help us grasp reality by inventing metaphors and stories that will stick in our mind, such as the "random walk." (Whether or not you believe that stock prices behave that way is not the point. The point is that this statistical hypothesis needed a memorable name to help people grasp it.)

"Black Swan" is another memorable story about statistical reality, this one invented by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of Tq130605shregular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme 'impact'. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

Another favorite story of mine is "It's not about you." We have a tendency to personalize everything that happens to us. When some poor victim of happenstance (like me) wants to share of tale of woe about how they (I) never get what they (I) want, just roll your eyes and say "maybe it's not about you."

You'll have to keep running just to stay in place. #li

Below is one of the most insightful things I've heard anyone say about web development. Truthfully, the same is true about business design these days. If you aren't constantly evolving in response to changes by your competitor, your customers will be drawn away. 

Coconut Headsets: Dynamic Web Strategy and The Failure Of Best Practices, 2012-Mar-19, by Rob May

One of the difficult things about redesigning a company website is that everyone has an opinion. What’s worse is that everyone has data to back it up.