Oct 13

In a mirror, darkly.

The GOP inhabits a universe darker than our own.

Jul 10

Authenticated Notoriety

Whenever I read the comment section of my local newspapers, I’m appalled by the comments and ideas held by readers.  I can only hope that they are either trolling or are under the influence of the Internet Dickwad Theory, as illustrated below from Penny Arcade:

Internet Dickwad Theory

That said, I feel that one should have to publically stand behind public statements.  Too often newsmakers use “background” briefings from “anonymous sources” or non-substantiated trends from some people.  But how about in something done for private pleasure, such as gaming?  Blizzard – creator of the very popular “World of Warcraft” – has changed their forum commenting policy to end anonymous commenting (emphasis mine):

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. The classic Battle.net forums, including those for Diablo II and Warcraft III, will be moving to a new legacy forum section with the release of the StarCraft II community site and at that time will also transition to using Real ID for posting.  

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players — however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

Now, I don’t game – at all.  I can certainly sympathize with the concerns some gamers have on being stigmatized by current and future employers.  At the same time, anonymity breeds a certain kind of bad behavior in forums that I can’t really explain.  There are certain to be unanticipated consequences that may be more severe than flame wars and hurt feelings.

There are a variety of reasons to push for authenticated identities online, such as fear of child predators or terrorism.  It’s far more likely that the push is for advertising and taxation.  In any case, our online behavior would likely change drastically based on who is watching and our level of anonymity.   The unmasking of players and revealing of their true selves may also change the very dynamics of the game.

Apr 10

Why engagement?

Why leverage engagement as a driver of behavior?

Scientists have found, and our own experience confirms, that human beings have a mix of drives. One is the biological drive. We eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty and have sex to satisfy our carnal urges. That first drive is part of what it is to be human. Few would dispute that. But equally, few would argue that the biological drive explains everything it is to be human (except perhaps in the case of young men between the ages of 15 and 18).

After all, we also have a second drive. You, I and the rest of our species often respond exquisitely to rewards and punishments in our environment. Promise us a pay rise or a bonus, and we’ll work harder. Threaten to dock us for showing up late or for incorrectly completing a form, and we’ll arrive on time and tick every box. This second drive “ our reward-and-punishment drive “ is part of who we are. But once again, it’s not all we are.

Because human beings also have a third drive. We do things even when they don’t satisfy our biological urges, win us a reward or help us avoid a punishment. We play musical instruments during the weekend simply to master something challenging. We quit high-paying jobs to take new jobs that are less lucrative but more meaningful. Human beings, says University of Rochester psychologist Edward Deci, have an “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore and to learn . Few would deny that this third drive is also part of what it is to be human.

In the business world, however, we too often stop at that second drive. We organise our enterprises around the belief that the way to improve performance is through an elaborate architecture of carrots and sticks. If we reward the behaviour we seek, and punish the behaviour we dislike, individuals will perform at a high level and their organisations will flourish. Or so the theory goes. In the 19th and 20th century, that approach “ enacted in businesses large and small on both sides of the Atlantic “ had a sturdy logic. Indeed, it works quite well when people are doing relatively simple, routine, rule-based work, whether this involves turning a screw on an assembly line or processing paper in an office.

Feb 10

Daily Links for January 15th through February 3rd

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • The Future of Search: Social Relevancy Rank – What we are about to get is a Social Relevancy Rank. Whenever you search streams of activity, the results will be ordered not chronologically but by how relevant each is to you based on your social graph. That is, people who matter more to you will bubble up. How does this work? Well, there will be a formula, just as there is a formula for Page Rank.
  • Saturday Evening Post Covers – Fine Art Reproductions of Iconic Illustrations – The complete archive of the Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations has been opened and hundreds of these iconic images are available as fine art reproductions. The remastered images are published as fine articles available on paper or canvas. These classic images recall a simpler time as well as representing the golden age of illustration. In addition to the complete archive of Norman Rockwell covers, we offer hundereds of other timeless cover illustrations.
  • Here’s Why Attempts To Cut The Deficit Will Definitely Make The Nation Poorer – Unfortunately, he’s got it backwards. The deficits he decries actually help to sustain demand and create jobs, thereby supporting the economy — not destroying it. And he reflects a commonly held belief that growing government debt represents a burden on our children and grandchildren, implicitly suggesting that future generations will have to reduce consumption in order to pay the taxes required to pay off the outstanding debt. Related to this is the fallacy that too much bond issuance will create a “debtors’ revolt”, whereby “the markets” will force the country to pay higher interest rates in order to “fund” its spending.
  • iPhone 3G S Carries $178.96 BOM and Manufacturing Cost, iSuppli Teardown Reveals  – iSuppli – My Observation: Apple's cost to add 3G capability to the iPod Touch would be under $30, based on iSuppli's tear-down of the iPhone 3GS.
  • 20+ mind-blowing social media statistics revisited | Blog | Econsultancy
  • The Data Digest: Trending Consumers’ Interest In Netbooks – What we see is that consumers are mostly interested in netbooks as a second or third PC that they could use while on the go, or that they consider giving one to their children.
  • iPad or Kindle: will our wallets decide? — Engadget – In quite a few ways, Apple's iPad and iBooks announcement today was a shot across the bow of Amazon's Kindle. Sure, Apple played nice, even saying that Amazon has done a "great job of pioneering" the e-book space, but you can't help but think that Apple thinks of itself as the evolution of the Kindle, not mere competition. Steve Jobs says that Apple is going to "stand on their shoulders," and that doesn't sound quite as benign as perhaps he meant it. So, how do the devices stack up, specifically as book consuming devices? Well, for starters, one of these things costs a whole lot more than the other… let's break it down after the break.
  • Psychological Tests for Student Use
  • Social Influence Marketing Trends
  • Razorfish – Fluent – The Social Influence Marketing Report
  • Understand Your Customers’ Social Behaviors – Applying Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to participation with Online Social Media.
  • The social behavior incentive (how your app can be as addictive as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare) – So, how can you make your own app addictive?
  • Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers [Corporate versus Personal] – A pdf timeline.
  • Political math: 37 > 63 – James Fallows – Senators representing 63 percent of the public vote for the bill; those representing 37 percent vote against it. The bill fails.
  • Transparency: State-by-state Abortion Rates – Transparency – GOOD – Congress is trying to wrap up health-care reform this week. One of the major issues in the bill has been whether it would provide government funding for abortions, which—as with anything to do with the abortion issue—has resulted in much vitriol. In thinking about the debate, it's good to have a grasp on the scope of the issue. This is a graphic of the abortion rates around the country.
  • The Indispensible Ideas of 2009 – Harvard Business Review – 2009 was a year of unprecedented change. The global economic crisis caused us to reevaluate every aspect of business, from strategy to innovation to managing resources. Throughout all of this, Harvard Business Press remained a trusted source for the best ideas and advice on weathering tough economic times.

    Selected by leading business publications worldwide, below are the Harvard Business Press books that topped 2009’s "Best of" lists. These titles not only wowed the critics, they also helped thousands of managers like you survive and thrive in today’s complex business world.

  • A Writing Revolution § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM – In our analysis, we considered an author’s text “published” if 100 or more people read it. (Reaching 100 people may seem inconsequential, but new-media messages are often re-broadcast by recipients, and then by their recipients, and so on. In this way, a message can “go viral,” reaching millions.) Extrapolation of the Twitter-author curve (the dashed line) predicts that every person will publish in 2013. That is the ceiling: 100 percent participation. Provided current growth continues, the prediction of imminence is robust. Increasing the stringency of the criterion for “publishing” from 100 to 1,000 readers would reduce new-media authorship tenfold, but merely delays the predicted 100 percent participation by a year under this model.

Nov 09

Daily Links for November 23rd through November 25th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Social Media Analytics: Twitter: Quantitative & Qualitative Metrics | Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik – Analysis of these new social media channels has been hobbled by old world thinking, when it comes to marketing, from the world of Television and Magazines or, when it comes to measurement, from the world of traditional web analytics.

    These new channels, twitter and facebook and youtube and tumblr and, yes, even blogs, are very distinct customer / participant experiences. Stale marketing or measurement thinking applied to them results in terribly sub optimal results for all involved.

    So in this post my hope is to share with you what is unique about measuring one such channel, Twitter. The blog post is also sprinkled with my own words of folksy wisdom as to how you should use the channel for maximum impact.

  • The Blueprints, reference image database, with more than 37000 blueprints, templates, 3/4/5-views and drawings – The-Blueprints.com is a website dedicated to collecting 3/4/5-view drawings, templates and blueprints for as many objects as possible. Ranging from humans to tanks and cars to mobile phones, the goal is to provide reference material for 3D modelers, scale modelers, replica builders etc.
    Currently there are more than 37000 images in the collection, which makes this the largest free collection on the internet, and I try to update the site on a daily basis.
  • Social Psychology Links by Subtopic – Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Listed below are links to social psychology topics such as prejudice and discrimination, gender, culture, social influence, interpersonal relations, group behavior, aggression, and more.
  • Atari Video Games | Arcade – Atari Arcade is the place to find beloved Atari classics including Asteroids and Lunar Lander. You can play them all here online, any time and free of charge. To start, simply choose your favorite game from the list and get ready to have some fun!
  • 30 Engaging Social Media Case Studies | EngagingSocialMedia.com – The best way to learn about how to make your social media campaigns ENGAGING is to see what has worked for others in the past. In this post I share over 30 case studies in social media that will give you a good look at what works and what does not. The case studies are group together by topic but topics are arranged in no particular order. Enjoy these case studies and if you have come across any good ones (or are working on creating one of your own) please share them in the comments below!