Tag Archives: Facebook

You Are What You Pay Attention To

distraction sickness

Illustration by Christian Laborin

Fake news is killing people’s minds! This is what Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said and he wants to do something about. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that fake news isn’t new.

Is A.I. The New Buzzword?

the best a.i. is still human intelligence

Kevin Kelly is quoted as saying that “The business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: take X and add AI”. Indeed, and 2017 may well be the year A.I. becomes a buzzword because just about every new product and service is pitching it as a strength and point of differentiation (more on that below).

Does the Internet Inspire Or Stifle Creativity?

Here’s an interesting question, does the internet threaten creativity or nurture it?,

It depends on how you look at it. When we think about the internet, we think of many things: websites, blogs, social networks, social media, etc..

All these components of the internet let us express ourselves in one way or another, connect with people we know, meet strangers, learn from others and create with others. But, while all this is great, the other side of what makes us human also makes it onto the internet.

Really, the internet both inspires and stifles creativity, here’s how…

How the Internet threatens creativity

Creativity, by it’s nature, is about bravery. So, to think creatively is to challenge the status-quo. Great!

One of the common benefits of having access to so much information and people is that we can find answers rather quickly. But this benefit has immediate consequences when we stop paying attention to human nature, for people will congregate around the same ideas on social networks which eventually leads to group-think.

What does that mean?

A few years ago I wrote a piece on how social media is group-think on steroids because it puts critical thinking to sleep. Critical thinking and creativity go hand in hand, but the megaphone that is social media turns people into lambs drinking the same kool-aid; making critical thinking irrelevant.

Where all think alike nobody thinks very much, and thus the status-quo stops being challenged.

See, the internet doesn’t make us more stupid because, in general terms, we’re stupid and shallow to begin with. But it may help some of us to become dumber and more shallow faster and more efficiently.

Simply put, the internet (if we let it) doesn’t eliminate human bias; it amplifies it.

How the Internet nurtures creativity

Not all is gray, for many great things happen because of the internet. I, like others, have used the internet to solve problems by collaborating with people from around the world. These connections came about because of serendipitous exchanges on Twitter and other mediums; the type that fuels innovation.

The advantage of the internet is open communication, so the simple act of sharing a thought on Twitter can become a conversation. Same goes with blogging, it brings like minds together. This is a good example of how the internet nurtures creativity. Beyond my immediate family, I’ve met all the most valuable people that I know through the internet.

My take is that just like innovative businesses understand that group-think is an enemy of innovation and thus create mechanisms to counter it, if we understand how this dynamic applies on the internet, we can counter it.

It’s important that we do because the future of work will be much more digital and collaborative than it is today; I guarantee it.

Bottom line: The Internet has the power to both bring out the best and worst in us. I foresee we’ll be debating whether or not technology make us stupid well into the future, but let’s put it to rest right now: Technology doesn’t make us stupid, it makes us smarter.

WhatsApp: The power of doing one thing extremely well

WhatsApp has succeeded because it is focused on creating a great product, not another social network. What will make your business unique is what you deliberately choose not to do.

After almost two years of chit-chat, WhatsApp sold to Facebook for $19 billion yesterday. For a moment, let’s ignore whatever we think about the valuation, and whether in the larger economic picture this is something to be concerned about.

Here I won’t get into the whole strategic thinking behind why this deal makes or doesn’t make sense. What I will do is talk about the picture below:

Adoption: The hardest part about innovation

Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats. – Howard Aiken

If there’s one things that rarely gets talked about innovation, it’s that you will have to work hard to get people to adopt your ideas. Two weeks ago I was talking to a few of the participants of Startup Weekend Tijuana. Among other things, we talked about the hard part about innovation.

Mainly I told them about my own experience, and how coming up with ideas isn’t a problem. The key, is influencing people to adopt your ideas. And as far as I’m concerned, this is where the rubber meets the road

People and organizations rarely understand, just like I did a few years back, that ideas by themselves are worthless. Just because your ideas sounds cool, and everyone tells you the same, it doesn’t mean it will be adopted. You have to nudge people to adopt your ideas.

There just isn’t any way around it.

Being the guy or company that changes the game is really being the one who gets people to change the behavior.

Case in point: Facebook.

Engage in sci-fi thinking to understand what makes people tick

Shock diamond

Image via Wikipedia

Last week I gave a workshop on how to mine social networks for insights. I used Facebook’s Fan Pages as a use case. Many of the participants were surprised as they didn’t visit Fan Pages and thought most were spammy. They also said they didn’t like it when brands suddenly went off topic because businesses should be serious, not fun (dominant assumption calling to be turned upside down).

And boy were they surprised with what I told them next…