Monthly Archives: May 2011

The CEO as the craziest person in your office.. just for sh*ts

I’ve recently switched jobs. And the one thing that has struck me most is the amount of different ways in which having a completely out-of-the-box CEO liberates a company’s employees.

Creating an environment in which people as comfortable as possible to express exactly what they’re thinking is arguably the best way to continuously  spark innovation in a company.

There are numerous ways to create this environment. Companies can have innovation mantras, ‘brainstorming’ sessions where brainstorming rules are explicitly spelt out for attendees, incentives to come up with big ideas and many other things.

But I believe it will most likely be the new hire who, when he first lays eyes on the CEO brandishing a wacky hat or doing cartwheels down the hallway, will be psychologically released from the fear of failure. This release of fear of failure will allow the creative part of his/her brain to bubble with craziness. And many of the ideas might be crazy, but they will be able to be built upon and built up and possibly into the next generation of your company.

The point is to get that creative part of the brain flowing freely and never put it down. And a CRAZY CEO will do that culturally, which is a much stronger signal than any sign or mantra.


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The simplest and most difficult

“Nothing can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault.”
– St. Bernard

The above quote is actually an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The Spiritual Emerson. It’s a similar argument that has been echoed by many an intelligent mind throughout history. Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations says it a different way when he writes “All is opinion”. It’s the idea that things are neither bad nor good, but thinking makes them so (that’s also from another book, might be Emerson or Aurelius, but I can’t remember).
I find it interesting that humans can logically ratify the above argument in such an easy and straight forward manner, but when it comes to effectually understanding it in the moment of theirs lives, the vast majority of people cannot help but lose sight of this idea’s implications.  The idea is so simple. When you’ve been hit by a truck and are now paralyzed and will never walk or have sex again, it’s very hard to argue with the fact that being sad about this event does not help your situation. You’re paralyzed… ya can’t do shit about it.
And yet it is ever the most difficult for humans to do that logical thing and let go. To make you brain stop thinking about it and focus on the fact that your still breathing (which is better than being in the dirt).

So difficult, so simple.

The only thing that I’ve found that works is meditation.

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Awareness delay and your subconscious

That which arguably defines my life is the idea the your subconscious beliefs in what you deserve in life ultimately define (for the most part) that which you will attain. Or said another way: To guarantee attaining that which you want in life, your subconscious must truly believe you deserve it.

So Benjamin Libet’s Mind Time explains how thoughts and intentions to act actually begin in our subconscious about 400msec BEFORE we become aware of them. Want to raise your hand, your subconscious started that process 400msec ago.
The point here (beyond the massive debate this idea starts about free will, etc. – I personally don’t think we have enough evidence to talk about this concretely yet) is that your subconscious is going through all your thoughts and intentions before your conscious mind (ergo awareness) does.

Put the two together and they make for a very compelling story. Want something? Then make sure you truly (subconsciously) believe you deserve it.

P.S. On a wholly geekish note, when you touch something, it actually takes half a second to register in your awareness: your brain just ANTE-dates the action back 500msec… coooooollll  haha

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Huh… so this is what the kids are calling a blag

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” – Winston

I was reading a blog yesterday about persuasion profiling. The short of it is that researchers and companies are beginning to understand that there are differences in the way people will react if a particular person is shown a “Buy one, get it free” versus “10 of your friends bought this” versus “For the next 12 minutes, 75% off”, etc. etc.  Some will more consistently be swayed by the first example, while others the last. Interestingly, this style preference appears to be consistent across products. So it doesn’t matter if I’m buying a car or apples, I might be consistently swayed by the “For the next 12 minutes, 75% off” advertisement. Click here for more information:

Now some  people apparently have a problem with this. Is profiling such people ethical? Granted there are lots of pros and cons to advertising using profiling… really advertising in general. I don’t particularly like it that walking through the mall with my girlfriend, as a shortcut to queen street, lands me danier for an extra 15 mins. But that’s freedom of advertising.

But if I think about this from the perspective of a 21st century consumer rammed by the train of information that’s out there. I can’t help but welcome these types of profiling. I can’t help but welcome ANYTHING that will help me sift through the googles of products out there to find what I like. And in democracy, as is necessary, it is my responsibility to be informed about what the companies are doing.

Every time we shop, we vote with our dollars on which companies to support and which not. Government can’t be expected to watch out for us all… history has been a good lesson on that one. So as much as we can, in the broken democracy in which we live, it is our responsibility as consumers to vote with our dollars.

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