Category: Uncategorized

Why being unanimous might not always be a good thing

the-usual-suspects

 

Exhibit A:
In a police line-up, the probability that an individual is guilty increases with the first three witnesses who unanimously identify him or her, but then decreases with additional unanimous witness identifications.

Exhibit B:
Under Jewish law, one could not be unanimously convicted of a capital crime – it was held that the absence of even one dissenting opinion among the judges indicated that there must remain some form of undiscovered exculpatory evidence.

If you want to nerd out on Bayesian statistics, I refer you to Lachlan J. Gunn, et al’s ‘Too good to be true: when overwhelming evidence fails to convince,’ published this month by The Royal Society.

In the meantime, it would seem to rather make a mockery of seeking unanimous feedback – whether it’s from clients or from consumers – to ideas.

Because if absolutely everybody is loving (or hating) something, then the chances are something hasn’t been thought about.

Just a thought.

Source

Thanks go to Shane at the brilliant and essential Farnham Street for unearthing this gem

A new year, an old resolution

not funny

The first working week of a new year is around the corner.

A good enough reason as any to revisit and recommit once again to an old resolution.

Because here’s the thing.

Look past all the rhetoric, the confident future gazing, the self-congratulation, the slick case studies, the awards, the campaigns du jour, the smartass blogs, the authoritative keynote speeches… and it’s plain that the vast majority of what we produce as an industry isn’t brilliant or even good.

Most of what our industry puts out into the world is banal, mediocre, unremarkable.

Some of it is much, much worse – patronizing, insulting, hectoring, polluting, stupid, intrusive, toxic.

Perhaps this is not surprising at all.

Perhaps advertising simply conforms to what the American science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon termed ‘Sturgeons Revelation’ (or ‘Sturgeon’s Law’ as it is often referred to). As he put it in in the March 1958 issue of Venture magazine:

I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”

And yet.

All that effort, all that ingenuity, all that inspiration, all those years perfecting one’s craft, all those long hours, all that Powerpoint, all those brilliant rationales, all those conference calls… all those missed school plays and cancelled dates, all those postponed vacations, all those lovers never loved, all those bedtime stories never told, all those plans postponed, all those promises broken, all those passions never pursued…

To produce crap?

I confess I know from years of firsthand experience that producing crap takes almost as much time and effort as producing stuff that’s good or better.

So it strikes me that we have a choice.

We can choose to make those sacrifices in the name of producing crap, or in the name of producing something good.

As a new year begins, as we switch the laptops back on, as we resume the rhythms of the working week, picking up unfinished tasks and starting fresh ones… as clients, as creatives, as account people, as planners, let’s all say No to crap.

Crap conversations. Crap teamwork. Crap ambitions. Crap expectations. Crap standards. Crap objectives. Crap briefs. Crap advice. Crap feedback…

Because if we aren’t going to reclaim more of our lives, then at the very least we should maintain (or reclaim) our standards.

***

The state we’re in

Our problem is not that we are short of information about this new force in our lives. On the contrary, we are awash with the stuff. It’s just that we have no idea what it all means. In that sense, we are in the state immortalised by Manuel Castells as that of “informed bewilderment”. Sure, we have some idea about what digital technology means for our economies and our daily lives. But what does it mean for us? What happens to our humanity in a digital age?”

Source: John Naughton reviews Laurence Scott’s The Four Dimensional Human

A new year, an old resolution: Saying no to crap

not funny

(It’s a new year. A good enough reason as any to revisit and recommit to an old resolution).

Look past all the rhetoric, the confident future gazing, the self-congratulation, the slick case studies, the awards, the campaigns du jour, the smartass blogs, the authoritative keynote speeches… and it’s plain that the vast majority of what we produce as an industry isn’t brilliant or even good.

Most of what our industry puts out into the world is banal, and unremarkable. Or worse, patronizing, derivative, lazy, insulting, hectoring, clumsy, polluting, stupid, repetitive, intrusive, toxic. Or just plain irrelevant.

Perhaps this is not surprising at all. Perhaps advertising simply conforms to what the American science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon termed ‘Sturgeons Revelation’ (or Sturgeon’s Law as it is often referred to). As he put it in in the March 1958 issue of Venture magazine:

I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”

And yet.

All that effort, all that ingenuity, all that inspiration, all those years perfecting one’s craft, all those long hours, all that Powerpoint, all those brilliant rationales… all those missed school plays and cancelled dates, all those postponed vacations, all those lovers never loved, all those bedtime stories never told, all those plans postponed, all those promises broken, all those passions never pursued… To produce crap?

I confess I know from years of firsthand experience that producing crap takes almost as much time and effort as producing stuff that’s good or better. So it strikes me that we have a choice. We can choose to make those sacrifices in the name of producing crap, or in the name of producing something good.

As a new year begins, as we switch the laptops back on, as we resume the rhythms of the working week, picking up unfinished tasks and starting fresh ones… as clients, as creatives, as account people, as planners, let’s say No to crap.

Crap conversations. Crap teamwork. Crap ambitions. Crap expectations. Crap objectives. Crap briefs. Crap advice…

Because if we aren’t going to reclaim more of our lives, then at the very least we should maintain (or reclaim) our standards.

***