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Dr. Tim Maudin posits in his “BIGTHINK.COM” article, that there is not much procedural difference between how one arrives at philosophical axioms for life and scientific ones.

However, let’s not wax Pollyannaic to the gods of ‘blog’; there are major processes that are different.   The philosophical axioms of life that one distills along the way are private and not amiable to testing or any type of validation or falsification.  That’s good for the individual according to those that traffic in concepts, metaphors, mysticism and similes, but it is not so relatively good for the species and the universe.  Those philosophical interpretations, rules, axioms and beliefs die with the owner.

Scientific ones may have, but don’t necessarily have, a similar etiology.   But scientific content is converted from private to public by the bridging of communication that can be scanned for a value proposition by anyone exposed who is attending to it and, in so doing, gets to tests the content in their reality as well as the public reality that science serves.

Our belief frame out behavior and when those beliefs don’t have any course correction available they can lead to good and less good consequences for the owner and the community that owner inhabits.  We all are stuck with some very outdated concepts; mostly tied to the Judeo-Christian-Newtonian World view, as some have pointed out responding to philosopher Maudlin’s article. No attempt or clue is offered how we all have these albatross’ of folk science, folk psychology and folk folklore and that, for some, make this Dr. Maudin’s video an opinion piece rather than an information piece.

What is unbounded is the need for explanation of relationships in ways that are general or conditional.  Private or covert neural patterns that equal what we call “cognitive” is not been a productive place to look to find out what the heck is going on in the world.  It is unbounded because of the complexity.   Staring at our belly button is one relationship that, while interesting to many philosophically, medically or technically, is not particularly relevant scientifically other than how it fits into existing context of those who value understanding a broader set of relationships. A scientific “explanatory crisis” is critical only because there is so much to do and behavior is complex. The philosophical procedures that have been around for 2500 years have left us wondering and wanting.  Scientific approaches have provided the Gore-Tex to suit the astronauts on the moon, if you get the difference in meaning. The differences are literally mind boggling because we’ve spent so much time in the ‘mind’ idiom that is marginal if not, blatantly unfruitful.  Current philosophical journals and entries validate this one-liner’s contributions to “our ordinary life”.

in starts and sputters science handles the changes in content understanding.  Philosophical approaches hang on using the metaphors and mysticism that was oh, so trendy in 1200 BC (interesting way to reference, ah!?). Thus, we have a similar explanatory crisis in our individual daily lives right now.  It could be called a dichotomy between those that ‘Get it” and those that “Don’t Get it” concerning myth, gods, premonitions, intuitions, feelings, motivations and the private axioms we treat as real (reification).  These reified concepts keep us ginned up recycling tattered messages rather than focused on the infinite simple relationships that make up the complex relationships that contribute to figuring out what the heck is going on out there.  Many people just gave up, are giving up, to become atheists, agnostics or vaccumists musing the antics of the “–isms” which are the stock and trade of philosophy as well.  But the quest to make sense of things is valuable and will find a course it finds rather than one based on ‘should-ought,’ or truth, beauty, right, wrong, etc., ad nauseum.

It is ironical that those that want to disagree with this piece are right now looking for a scientific-looking way to frame their Judeo-Christian-Newtonian folklore arguments to make them so strong that it will launch their careers… as philosophers.   Lol.

  1. Thursday, June 23, 2011; http://bigthink.com/ideas/24170

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I recently watched the PBS documentary, art and copy. it’s a feature about advertising focusing mostly on the big agencies and agency personalities. absolutely fascinating. partly because these are big personalities but mostly because the campaigns featured are ones almost all of us know well and probably love.

there’s a stat at the end… 186000 employees at ad agencies worldwide. 26000 agencies. but 4 holding companies produce 80% of the advertising spend.

what that implies there just isn’t that much advertising that gets big, mass consumer popularity (and likely nor does the products behind the advertising).

so the questions for me:

is most advertising unappealing? just noise?

do people only have so much attention to give? the populace can’t support more than a few campaigns getting big?

are most folks in advertising biz just not very good?

is the ad biz really about unglamorous, small campaigns that work for small companies?

is the old ad model going to last? more and more big brands didn’t need an agency and an ad budget at all to go big (google, facebook, twitter, crocs…)

when should a biz use a big traditional campaign?

I don’t question whether a well capitalized, well executed branding campaign works. they do. I think it’s hard to get all the right things to make it happen and only those with the deepest pockets, best products and most aggressive teams will ever have a shot.

I think that’s why other advertising approaches are more appropriate for most businesses and growing in spend online advertising, for the most part, isn’t artful. it’s math. it’s about getting frequency and follow up and flow just right. science based advertising works better for the majority of products and services where there’s little differentiation or brand value between competitors. price and location (at time of purchase) are the keys, not artful impact.

also worth noting is that the current context in which online is viewed doesn’t lend itself well to bigger more potent messages like tv or radio. I think some of that has to do with the fact that tv and radio are more passive consumption around visuals and sound of people rather than text about the world. and tv and radio are usually consumed with others generating more shared experiences. the built in fragmented personalization of the web means known of us ever have the same basic experience.

I’ve worked on a lot of online campaigns that tried to do the big budget big branding thing. no shortage of good ideas and mostly good execution. the consumers just never respond.

there are no best way to do it.

one thing I think the folks in the documentary have in common with the successful math based online advertisers and agencies is a willingness to try and be wrong. too many folks think there’s a best way to do it and that you can know that a priori. you can’t.

as one of the agency celebrates. fail harder.

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To start, the goal is not to be an ‘elite’ athlete…

Third in a 5 Part Series on http://www.SocialMode.com

(1)   Sports, like businesses or social movements have goals and costs.

(2)   The best way to advance is through the “Do”.

(3)   Focus on long-term benefits as well as short-term gains

Elite athletes must practice a lot. There are no short-cuts.  In the practice process they get to make a lot of errors requiring a lot of adjustments needed for success down the road. If they focused only on success in the short term, they would not push themselves into zones beyond their immediate potential.  And yes, we’ve seen what happens to those potentially elite athletes that focused on the short-cuts… Of course, business people are no different.

So, as a business person, you need to discern whether or not you value becoming an expert at something, or navigating your company to be essential and separated from those just ‘good enough’.  If you want to excel, it will require that you push yourself out of your own comfort zones almost daily.

Like the elite athlete, you have to start somewhere.  Start with a mentor or committee and never stop practicing balancing great risk with great consequences. The bigger the risks, the larger the consequences impact more than your behavior.  If you can, get someone, or many with the skills you want, to coach, mentor and support you.

Coaching can be very helpful to guide your initial moves outside of your comfort zones. Yes, that makes you vulnerable. You may not be comfortable with that tactic but your objective requires you to change.  Learning to focus on stretching your skills to attain short-term gains AND long term benefits will mean learning to live with vulnerability, levels of discomfort and minimal comfort zones.  Why do you think so few people rise to elite levels?

NEXT: It is not ‘automaticity’ per se that leads to high proficiency

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The case for behavioral strategy

Left unchecked, subconscious biases will undermine strategic decision making. Here’s how to counter them and improve corporate performance.

MARCH 2010 • Dan Lovallo and Olivier Sibony

Once heretical, behavioral economics is now mainstream. Money managers employ its insights about the limits of rationality in understanding investor behavior and exploiting stock-pricing anomalies. Policy makers use behavioral principles to boost participation in retirement-savings plans. Marketers now understand why some promotions entice consumers and others don’t.

Yet very few corporate strategists making important decisions consciously take into account the cognitive biases—systematic tendencies to deviate from rational calculations—revealed by behavioral economics. It’s easy to see why: unlike in fields such as finance and marketing, where executives can use psychology to make the most of the biases residing in others, in strategic decision making leaders need to recognize their own biases. So despite growing awareness of behavioral economics and numerous efforts by management writers, including ourselves, to make the case for its application, most executives have a justifiably difficult time knowing how to harness its power…

~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is the thing…

The subject of the article is the categorization of ‘biases’.

Like the other media forms, if you run out of new terms to use in business, your presentations die an agonizing death of disuse.  This paper provides a fine example of what lack of clarity and  misapplication of  the vernacular does: http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Strategy/Strategic_Thinking/The_case_for_behavioral_strategy_2551?gp=1

Put ‘Behavioral’ or ‘Neuro-‘in front of almost any expression, term or concept and it would appear that it is born anew.  Throw in a set of myths, superstitions or “common knowledge” as those found in the metaphysics of the ‘subconscious,’ and cognitive biases, then make up some new words, like “debias” and you have the makings of another mechanism that supports ignorance of behavior [corporate or personal] from slippery sound bites.   Lovallo and Sibony have done a story for the acclaimed McKinsey Group and packed it with metaphors, similes and analogies but missed the behavioral part of their article, that is:

  1. EMPIRICISM –
  2. OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS  –
  3. SHUNNING OF MONOCAUSALITY –
  4. MEASUREMENT OF BEHAVIOR OF INDIVIDUALS, COMMITTEES, OR COMPANIES SUBSEQUENT TO ANTECEDENTS OR AS CONSEQUENCES

Biases are not new, empirical, behavioral or operationally defined and therefore constitute a rehash of psycho-babble that

  1. Doesn’t address how biases come to exist OR influence behavior like selection of options or decisions
  2. Doesn’t address how biases are maintained OR why they are negative, irrelevant or harmful
  3. Doesn’t address what to do to reduce their effects in business for some company benefit

McKinsey Group should move on and get some behavioral assessment partners to mull business approaches with these gentlemen.  With stuff like this being offered to the management of companies that can afford help, is it any wonder that businesses sometimes seem to be clueless on what is going on with customers, vendors, or partners?

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Second in a 5 Part Series…

To start, the goal is not to be an ‘elite’ athlete…

(1)   Sports, like businesses or social movements have goals and costs. [see previous post]

(2) The best way to advance is through the “Do”.
Once we have a strategy, we have to act. Right… pull the trigger on something.  “Do” now that the yak is done.  So often, people think for a long time – a very long time — about nuances marginally related to the goal.  For instance, starting a business?  Considering the logo and mission statement is a time and activity-trap to avoid.  Thinking is not risky. Doing is. Yet the risk of doing provides learning that no thinking will ever provide. If there is something you have been longing to achieve: lose weight; find romance; make more money; do it!  ‘Just do it’ resonated with athletes before it was a trademarked call to action. Athletes too are vulnerable to ‘thinking it through’ rather than doing it.  At some early point you must put away your thinking cap and do something. And don’t even think why you don’t ‘do’ this or that!  Just do the plan.  Stop aiming and pull the trigger.  Once it is pulled, get ready to pull it again.  You can make adjustments toward your goal each time. When you ‘do’, know that each event is a learning event. When you next do something toward your goal you’ll be amazed what you have learned and that you are not acting blindly after all.

NEXT: How to…“Focus on long-term benefits as well as short-term benefits”

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Michael Lynton responds with a confusing analogy to the blogosphere’s blast of his now infamous comment, “I’m a guy who sees nothing good having come from the Internet. Period.”

The fact that he’s following up to add context is great for his argument and his agenda.  Unfortunately his choice of analogies or the choice to use an analogy muddles his argument.  The Internet isn’t like anything.  The abstract workings of how people behave online is not unlike how they behave offline but the details (actual behaviors, reinforcers and consequences) are very different.  His analogy, the Interstate System, oversimplifies his argument and the ultimate concept he’s chasing: piracy.

Contrast the expansion of the Internet with what happened a half century ago. In the 1950’s, the Eisenhower Administration undertook one of the most massive infrastructure projects in our nation’s history — the creation of the Interstate Highway System. It completely transformed how we did business, traveled, and conducted our daily lives. But unlike the Internet, the highways were built and operated with a set of rational guidelines. Guard rails went along dangerous sections of the road. Speed and weight limits saved lives and maintenance costs. And officers of the law made sure that these rules were obeyed. As a result, as interstates flourished, so did the economy. According to one study, over the course of its first four decades of existence, the Interstate Highway System was responsible for fully one-quarter of America’s productivity growth.

We can replicate that kind of success with the Internet more easily if we do more to encourage the productivity of the creative engines of our society — the artists, actors, writers, directors, singers and other holders of intellectual property rights — yes, including the movie studios, which help produce and distribute entertainment to billions of people worldwide.

What specific success are we replicating (what is this study he cites?)?  How are the physical constraints of the highway system like anything with mostly non-physical Internet?  And the bigger question… how is the function of the highway system (move people about) comparable at all to the Internet (move info, place to exhibit, converse, transaction… and so on)?

I don’t know what will reduce piracy.  I don’t know what will ensure that Sony and others can make as much money from content as they would like.   I do know that Lynton has made no progress to further is argument and perhaps took a step back by not just sticking to this one key point.

But, I actually welcome the Sturm und Drang I’ve stirred, because it gives me an opportunity to make a larger point (one which I also made during that panel discussion, though it was not nearly as viral as the sentence above). And my point is this: the major content businesses of the world and the most talented creators of that content — music, newspapers, movies and books — have all been seriously harmed by the Internet.

At least this is something we can argue.  (I don’t think his statement is accurate and I’ll write on that later).

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Great, actionable post from Seth Godin.

The certain thing is that you can change everything…

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