Archive for January, 2008

Another case of the curse of knowledge (or a job for emoticons?)

emoticon.png esmiley.png

Similar to the ‘tappers and listeners’ example quoted in Made to Stick. Research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests;

You have only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they’ve correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time. And the sender estimates that 80% of the time the recipient will correctly gauge the tone of the message.

In reality, the recipient correctly gauges the tone only 50% of the time.

The difference between the sender and the receiver’s understanding is a very dangerous gap to leave open to chance…

common emoticons


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initial nominative determinism?

Affection for our own names and initials can lead us to failureOur tendency to like our own names and initials – sometimes referred to as a form of implicit egotism – can have relatively trivial consequences, such that Britney will be more likely to move to Brighton than Sheffield, and Jack more likely to buy a Jaguar than a Ferrari. But now, in a series of intriguing studies, Leif Nelson and Joseph Simmons have shown how, from baseball performance to Law School, our affection for our own names can have bizarrely detrimental consequences.

…students with the initials C or D achieved significantly lower grades than students whose initials were unrelated to grade scores, and students with the initials A or B.

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aligning with the idea to exploitation cycle


  • The Idea; academic or breaking new ground work – blue sky & stimulating. Tough to sell to early adopter market.
  • 1st implementation; rewarding & thrilling work. Few providers, keeps price high as demand grows.
  • Commercial exploitation; efficiency led, next step after initial implementations delivered, less thrilling. Many providers, commoditization & price competition.

The cycle through idea to implementation and through to efficiency is followed in many business or technologies. Business goals and plans need to be aligned with the right stage in the cycles. People’s aspirations and expectations need to be aligned with the cycle as well. Someone seekig the intellectual challenges of new ideas will sit uncomfortably in a commoditization project.

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plate spinning vs tummy rubbing


Actions strung in a series are easier to execute than actions that have to be completed in parallel.

Plate spinning is repetition, albeit of a skillful, fast paced and difficult to do. Parallel actions, e.g. ‘rubbing your tummy, while patting your head’ take concentration and are significantly harder to execute.

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everything needs to be rewarding

Sandy (Petersen) regailed him (John Romero) about the payback a player should receive when blasting the lungs out of a demon with the shotgun. “you really should get rewarded on several levels,” he said. “you should hear the gun go off, you should see the big, manly guy cocking his shotgun, you see the bad guy go flying backwards, or an explosion. It’s always you’re rewarded for doing the right thing!”

Quote from Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

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being used for a mighty purpose

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

George Bernard Shaw

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design language : rule of cool

“The limit of the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its degree of coolness. Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality so long as the result is wicked sweet and/or awesome. This applies to the audience in general, as there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual in the group.

The Rule Of Cool is another principle that seeks to dispel arguments among fans over implausibility in fiction.”

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