Re: Twitter reveal — It was well written

One thing that struck me about Twitter’s reveal over the weekend was how it was written.

It got to and revealed the points quickly and clearly.

So much ‘journalistic’ writing these days follows this pattern:

Click bait headline

Repeat click bait headline with a few more words as a subtitle

Popup asking for an email or subscription to a site I’ve never heard of and have only read 13 words of, so far

Setting a landscape to build back to the point of the headline, laden with biased terms and sketchy reasoning. Which gets me thinking that I’m going to have to buy into their stretches to believe the original point.

Getting back to the point of the headline, but with more words and squishier premise than the headline led you to believe.

Followed by list of ads for strange things that presumably pay the bills for the folks writing this gunk.

Another common pattern is:

Click bait headline

Click here to listen to my hour and 3 minute long podcast

How about tell me in a few sentences?

Advertisement

A corporate Shark Tank that might work

In the previous post, I covered what folks miss when they want to implement a corporate shark tank.

This post covers some ideas on how to bring shark tank into a company that might work.

First, folks with ideas should do groundwork to prove an idea, just like the contestants on Shark Tank

In one place I worked, field leaders presented lots of promotion ideas because they were rewarded for presenting ideas. They got kudos for being forward-thinking, engaged and thinking about the success of business, even though many of their ideas had been tried and failed. So, they tossed plenty of ideas over the wall, not caring whether the business actually tried them or not.

Because so many of those ideas never went anywhere once thrown over the wall, we started asking the field leaders if they would fund the trial on their own P&L to prove it out for the business.

We were surprised with how that changed things.

It cut the number of ideas down by 80%. Talking about an idea is one thing. But, it turns out, putting some stakes on the table to prove your idea is another.

When people were forced to think through how an idea might impact their own wallet, much like founders on Shark Tank, they filtered their ideas more carefully and were more interested in learning about why some ideas had failed.

It also resulted in a few brave souls some ideas that were different and they signed up to try it at their own risk, achieving the original results we were after, bypassing red tape to test more ideas.

One of those ideas ended up being a grand slam home run and a few were pretty good.

Second, everyone is a shark

Most folks envision a corporate Shark Tank as an innovation committee made up of mid to high level managers who will act as gatekeepers.

But, I think this will result in the same red tape as the typical innovation methods they have now, but it will just be more showcased.

I would open the Shark Tank to anybody in the organization, to create an idea marketplace that can connect up the idea generators and champions with folks that want to try them in the real world and on larger scales, on their own P&L, or contribute their own time, effort and expertise.

I do see a need for a committee, just not as a gatekeeper.

The committee would collect the ideas, help idea generators conduct early testing and connect the idea folks with people who want to try them in the business or contribute more.

The committee could maintain an online, searchable list of ideas, like Kickstarter, so folks in the organization can search them when they are looking for ideas, along with organizing regular meetings where ideas that have shown good signs in early testing are pitched to gain champion for larger scale trials.

I think the committee can also enforce some key principles of innovation

Ideas don’t die until they’ve been tried. The primary criteria for product and marketing ideas is how customers respond to it. I’ve seen lots of ideas killed for lots of other reasons, like management didn’t like the idea, it was thought the idea didn’t fit with the vision of the company and so on.

Remind everyone that the the odds success are very low, somewhere between 1-in-10 and 1-in-10,000. That’s why we don’t kill ideas until tried, why we try as much as possible on very small scales and encourage as much trial as we can. Good innovation is much more about playing the odds than beating them. It’s a lot like fishing. Even the best fisherman don’t catch a fish on every line.

Why don’t we see the rising costs of college as price gouging?

College has become expensive because prices have consistently risen at rates above inflation for quite some time.

A chart from this Wikipedia article shows cost of college since the 1980s shows tuition has increased about 3x cost of living and 2x medical costs.

If private industry raised prices so consistently, price gouging would be a common criticism.

The closest we seem to get to criticizing college costs is simply lamenting it, as if it’s just some force of nature that can’t be reckoned with.

If you are sensitive to price gouging in the private sector, can I ask why you aren’t as sensitive to it in college education?

Opponents of pro/rel in US soccer demonstrate that they do not understand how bottom-up works

Their critical mistake is believing that strong support for soccer must precede pro/rel, as if, somehow, pro/rel would weaken support.

They don’t understand that pro/rel helps cause strong support for soccer. So, they block the very thing that can create the condition they require.

They will say, “oh, but relegation battles don’t make things that much more interesting.”

I agree. In this post, I wrote more about what really does drive the benefit, from the bottom-up, of pro/rel.

Some questions for critics of pro/rel

One thing I noticed about critics of pro/rel is how confident that it would never work in the U.S. These are questions I have for them:

How do you know? Has it been tried here before? When and where?

For that matter, are there places in the world where pro/rel has been tried and it ended in system failure? I often hear these critics say that someday there will be collapse in these pyramids, but that someday never seems to get closer.

Do you think that there’s anything to the phrase, “you never know until you try?” Have you ever said it yourself?

Then what makes you so sure about pro/rel in the U.S.?

Are you 100% in your predictions of what will work and what won’t? If so, why aren’t you the richest person in the world?

Why not try it? I really don’t understand the vehement distaste folks have for it in a sport.

What does ‘with’ mean?

Many reports on covid hospitalizations report admissions ‘with’ covid, yet people seem to interpret that to mean “due to.”

If you point out that ‘with’ does not mean ‘due to’, you may be accused of minimizing the situation rather than trying to apply basic reading comprehension.

Some of the negative blow back comes from those inexperienced with interpreting numbers. For them, the difference in meaning between ‘with’ and ‘due to’ seems trivial enough that they make a leap on what the report says, “what they really means is ‘due to.'”

What’s more is they do this without realizing it. When they think back to the report they remember the meaning they created for the report rather than what the report actually said.

The movie Inception was about implanting an idea in someone’s mind so that they thought it was their own idea.

What I describe above is reverse-inception, causing someone to believe their own idea is someone else’s. In this case, they think the idea that hospitalizations due to covid is what the reports say, when it is not.

This reminds me of when reporters asked Lance Armstrong if he took performance enhancing drugs and he would respond, “I never failed a drug test.”

Many would interpret Armstrong’s answer as a strong “no” when he didn’t directly say no. He reverse-incepted the answer into our heads. Later, he admitted that answer was his way of feeling like he wasn’t lying, even though he knew how folks would interpret it.

This is not to say that more folks aren’t being hospitalized due to Covid or having serious illness due to Covid. If you think that’s what this says, then you are reverse-incepting an idea onto me.

This is just to point out that if you read the reports on covid hospitalizations, carefully, you will notice they usually do not provide clear enough info on the number of folks hospitalized due to covid to draw sound conclusions.

When I point this out to folks, they ask, what does the report mean then? I’ve used some version of this simplified example to explain it.

Let’s say 100 kids per week are hospitalized for broken arms and all those admitted to the hospital are tested for Covid as standard practice, which they are.

Last week, 10 of those 100 kids tested positive for covid, while 10% in the general population were also testing positive.

This week, Omicron blows through the area and now 25% of people in the general population test positive for covid. Those familiar with data will expect to see this trend in test positivity in hospital admissions, as well.

Sure enough, the local hospital reports that 25 admissions tested positive for covid this week vs 10 last week, therefore the number of kids admitted to the hospital with covid more than doubled!

Here’s what they don’t mention: those 25 were admitted for broken arms, not covid; that the total number admitted for broken arms is on par with the previous week; that the test positivity rate was in-line with the rate in the general population in the area.

They also don’t mention how many people were admitted specifically for covid.

The next stage of reverse-inception is to doubt that the reports would dare be that misleading, because it seems like it would be too easy to be debunked and surely someone would so!

Folks did the same with Lance Armstrong. When they realized that his response didn’t directly deny taking drugs, they would reason that there’s no way he would dare be that misleading because it would be too easy to debunk. And, yet it took years to do so.

Read reports on covid carefully. Pay attention when you hear yourself saying things like “I think what they really mean is…” or “they are making it sound like…”. Those are sure signs that you may be getting reverse-incepted.

Why not build more hospital capacity?

We’ve been hearing that hospital capacity is an issue for 2 years.

I find it strange that building more hospital capacity doesn’t ever seem to be considered as a solution.