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The100: Insider-outsiders, geriatric millennials and conversational gambits

When the numbers don’t add up (on their own)

Among the many problems with the world? Our tendency to favour analysis of hypotheses over an open, unbiased mind and inquisitiveness: 

Pinning all your faith on an economic model alone, say, is like walking through a dark wood at night with a compass and only staring at the dial; no matter how brilliant that compass may be, if you do not look up and employ some lateral vision you will walk into a tree.

Gillian Tett of the FT is looking at the The Human Factor [if you hit a paywall try accessing via this LinkedIn Post instead]:

It is hard for us to evaluate our own cultural assumptions. Familiarity creates blind spots (“The last thing a fish would notice would be the water”), and outsiders can see things that insiders ignore. The goal of anthropology, then, is to be an insider-outsider — to have empathy for a culture and a sense of critical detachment.

It’s worth reading to the end where Gillian gives an excellent anecdote about voting by humming instead of by simple yay or nays, to allow depths of feeling to show.

Dare you. 

Minorities assuming majorities

Working from home? If so, you’re in the minority; it just may not feel like it. 

It surprised me. But what an example of the echo chamber we all live in – and, of course, I include myself in this. 

In most of my LI and Twitter feeds, people talk about working from home. But the audience is self-selecting. Most people in the UK did NOT work from home in 2020. In the US, the same story is emerging

“…62% of workers with a bachelor’s degree or more education say their work can be done from home. This compares with only 23% of those without a four-year college degree.”

If you want to break the echo chamber, you could try MIT’s FlipFeed. It enables you to get a Twitter feed that is the opposite to yours (it looks for political leanings etc.). I advise wearing a swimming cap to lessen the impact on your hair – picture of me in mine on request 😉

Or try some of these services that are trying to break the digital algorithms we all live under. Clever. 

Are you the evolutionary-link in business?

Great article on the divide between older and younger generations in business from Erica Dhawan, and her value-case for the geriatric millennial

They are neither ignorant of technology nor so engrossed in it that a voicemail inspires fear.

Erica talks about how younger generations don’t ‘get’ phones or can’t comprehend body language in meetings. But old timers have difficulty crossing technological divides. So where on the scale are you at ease?

The 5 fruit gambit

Jim Carroll writes about conversational gambits. These are insertions into awkward silences that can be used to bring life back to a deafening hush.  The 5 fruit gambit:

If you were restricted to five fruits, what would they be?

So, what’s your favourite conversational gambit? I’ll list the best ones in the next edition if you have the time to drop me a line …or ring (+44 7545 596 402). Geriatric Millennials have nothing on me 🙂

Or would it be easier with 6 fruits?

When faced with a problem, people tend to select solutions that involve adding new elements rather than taking existing components away.

A fascinating look at why our brains tend to add rather than subtract when it comes to solving problems (and it’s a conversational gambit in its own right).

Reinvention is the mother of invention

Sheryl Crow’s ‘All I wanna do’ 1994 hit used 30 lines of a 36 line poem that was contained in a book published 6 years earlier (and written 3 years before that) which only had a 500 copy print run. 

The book was bought by Crow’s producer in a 2nd hand book shop during a break in a recording session that was suffering from a lack of lyrical inspiration.

It remains her biggest hit.