The internet the world

remember when the yellow pages …

Remember when the yellow pages used to be big and floppy and there were two of them? A-Z now in one 1616 page volume.

The Work Experience

The Rise of the New Groupthink

We have all heard the phrase “design by commitee” and we all know that it means a compromised process and result. Yet there is no critique of work environments and practices that result in this group think. We think design by commitee happens in meetings attended by bosses. Could it be that it is happening in every open plan office and brainstorming workshop? 

This is the belief of Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She published “The Rise of the New Groupthink” in the

Some highlights from the article to encourage your further reading:

On privacy and productivity

Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. … introverts are comfortable working alone — and solitude is a catalyst to innovation. … introversion fosters creativity by “concentrating the mind on the tasks in hand … … Privacy also makes us productive. In a fascinating study known as the Coding War Games, consultants Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister compared the work of more than 600 computer programmers at 92 companies. They found that people from the same companies performed at roughly the same level — but that there was an enormous performance gap between organizations. What distinguished programmers at the top-performing companies wasn’t greater experience or better pay. It was how much privacy, personal workspace and freedom from interruption they enjoyed. Sixty-two percent of the best performers said their workspace was sufficiently private compared with only 19 percent of the worst performers. Seventy-six percent of the worst programmers but only 38 percent of the best said that they were often interrupted needlessly.

On the open plan office

Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They’re also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it.

On brainstorming and groupwork

… brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity. The brainchild of a charismatic advertising executive named Alex Osborn who believed that groups produced better ideas than individuals, workplace brainstorming sessions came into vogue in the 1950s. “The quantitative results of group brainstorming are beyond question,” Mr. Osborn wrote. “One group produced 45 suggestions for a home-appliance promotion, 56 ideas for a money-raising campaign, 124 ideas on how to sell more blankets.” But decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases.

… The reasons brainstorming fails are instructive for other forms of group work, too. People in groups tend to sit back and let others do the work; they instinctively mimic others’ opinions and lose sight of their own; and, often succumb to peer pressure. The Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that when we take a stance different from the group’s, we activate the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the fear of rejection. Professor Berns calls this “the pain of independence.”

Some advice is offered at the conclusion of the article so it’s not all doom and glom. Read it at the The Rise of the New Groupthink


Culture eats strategy for lunch

Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy, it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. It’s not good enough just to have an amazing product and a healthy bank balance. Long-term success is dependent on a culture that is nurtured and alive. Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death. Think about it like a nurturing habitat for success. Culture cannot be manufactured. It has to be genuinely nurtured by everyone from the CEO down. Ignoring the health of your culture is like letting aquarium water get dirty.

Read the whole article over at

Found via

The internet the world

Google Santorum

Search for “Santorum” and the top result will land you on this page. I was just alerted to this long running campaign via a friend’s Facebook post. The details of it are documented on Wikipedia. Its part political activism against the US senator’s anti gay remarks, part organic google bomb. Organic in the sense that organic search terms are ones that rise to the top of search engine results pages without manipulation. The wikipedia entry of the campaign to create this neologism (a new word definition) included this account of the request to Google to address the matter.

In September 2011 Santorum asked Google to intervene by altering the indexing of the content, saying, “If you’re a responsible business, you don’t let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country…To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can’t handle but I suspect that’s not true.”[4] In response to Santorum’s request, a Google spokesperson asserted that Google does not “remove content from our search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content and violations of our webmaster guidelines.”



This story strikes me as a kind of keyboard democracy. Its the popularity, interest and linking to this page that is resulting in the high search result. And perhaps some future business for reputation managers out there.

The internet the world

I really should have looked at the table of contents to see what instruction these Facebook manuals provided

The Work Experience

Email after hours? It’s overtime by law for some

Workers who find themselves answering work emails on their smartphones after the end of their shifts in Brazil can now qualify for overtime under a new law. The new legislation was approved by President Dilma Rousseff last month. It says company emails to workers are equivalent to orders given directly to the employee.

While some may not think twice about answering that phone call or email, others see it as an intrusion on their life and an erosion of their pay. Is work creeping into our own lives too much? Full article with readers’ comments over at SMH:…