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The100: Slow-motion multitasking, faster horses and dreamscapes


I sent a researcher to 1890

The misuse of the Henry Ford ‘faster horses’ quote has long rumpled my stiltskins. All too often it’s oversimplified and used to pooh-pooh the need for innovation research. 

Indeed the quote is correct, participants aren’t going to invent the car. But that isn’t the point of research either. As Zach Schendel explained when putting himself in the shoes of an 1890s Ford researcher:

The research uncovers the need. The innovator’s job is to run with it.

Michaela Jefferson, CMO of Pinterest, was waving a similarly brilliant flag in her article on how marketers can misunderstand the value of insight. 

There’s an outcome they [participants] want, but it’s our job to develop the best solution – we can’t expect them to know what that solution is.

“That is news to me,” Blair replied

Armed with examples from Tony Blair, the UN and a German aquarium (that’s quite the mix), the New Yorker published a superb article on how data can be both powerful and perilous when it comes to people: 

To count well, we need humility to know what can’t or shouldn’t be counted.

Deborah Stone

A dig at data and the misuse of ‘faster horses’ in one issue of The100? Blow the expense, give the cat another goldfish!

It’s ‘sneaky sexism’

The Drum has been taking a hard look at whether gender stereotyping still exists in advertising: 

For [Vicki] Maguire, while tighter regulation has helped reduce examples of the more blatant objectification and misrepresentation of women, “it has yet to have much impact on the everyday sexism in advertising, other parts of the media and wider society that continues to prevail”.

Lots still to be done, good people.

Slow-motion multitasking

Ever feel like you’re working really hard but getting very little done?

Same.

Regularly. 

Part of that, as the Financial Times pointed out, could be due to diminishing specialisation within knowledge work:

Computers have made it easier to create and circulate written messages, to book travel, to design web pages. Instead of increasing productivity, these tools tempt highly skilled, highly paid people to noodle around making bad slides.

We need to SOS (save our specialists, obviously 😉) and ourselves from distraction: 

How often is office work assigned and prioritised by random pestering? Certain disciplines, including producing a daily newspaper, have developed a clear workflow that doesn’t depend on long email chains. A lot of knowledge work, however, is still in the “wander in and pester” stage.

March 259th

It’s been a year since the wheels fell off, well, everything really.

According to Fast Company we aren’t the same people we once were.   

Whilst water coolers have been lamented as the main reason for returning to the office, what if it’s the competition that we’re missing?

We should be the first to remember that what powers improvement is the reality of marketplace competition […] competition will exist not just between corporations, but inside them.

If you do decide to stay at the home office then Zoom Escaper is a triumph. You’re very welcome, I live to serve.

Ear candy

Remember Michael Wilson, the Police Academy guy? He’s got some frighteningly good skills.

In more joy to the ears, Nemo’s Dreamscapes mixes music from the 1930/40s so that it sounds like it’s playing in another room. Nemo then blends it with the sound of rain/fireplaces/cars etc. Cue the serotonin.