Humanization of Computing, The New Science of Persuasion, and Hiring Executives

With the ability to be always online, do we also have connection? A fast read about ubiquitous computing and what it may mean to people. The second link this week addresses an interesting experiment for testing ad effectiveness that merits some thought.

As our use of the technology evolves, we should not lose sight that we posses the talents and experience to make better decisions. How we can become better aware of those skills and leverage them in business is the topic of the third article.


Humanization of Computing, The New Science of Persuasion, and Hiring Executives

The three links that caught my eye this week are:


1A Copernican moment for tech is the viewpoint on the BBC network by James Stevenson who talks about the humanization of computing.

With just one click of a button we can summon information on our location, find the cheapest place to buy something or purchase a service on-demand.

We now live in a networked economy where we revolve around data that is accessed through a variety of digital devices held together by the web and available on demand.

However, with so much data at our fingertips, we demand relevance and the ability to instantly discover information, easily retrieve it, and manage how the information is stored across our devices.

The five Cs – connect, content, custom, context and control – effectively humanise computing and enable us to think differently, achieve the impossible and innovate.


2Researchers are using Google Adwords to test the persuasive power of different messages. Technology Review reports on the new science of online persuasion:

The persuasive power of a message is a crucial ingredient in any ad. But settling on the best combination of words is at best a black art and at worst, little more than guesswork.

[…] Marco Guerini at the Italian research organisation Trento-Rise and a couple of buddies say they've found an interesting way round this: to test messages on Google's AdWords service.

The idea here is to use Google Adwords to place many variations of a single message to see which generates the highest click through rate.

However, while Guerini and co's evolutionary algorithm built on top of AdWords experiments are interesting pilots they are not extensive enough to provide insight into the nature of persuasive messages. That will need testing on a much larger scale. 


3How do you make good hiring decisions if you've never done the job? Some suggestions at Ben's blog on how you hire someone good in the executive suite with no direct experience in doing the work you're hiring for:

1. Know what you want.

[…] The very best way to know what you want is to act in the role. Not just in title, but in real action—run the team meeting, hold 1:1s with the staff, set objectives, etc. […] bring in domain experts. […] be clear in your own mind on your expectations for this person upon joining your company.

2. Run a process that figures out the right match

[…] Write down the strengths you want and the weaknesses that you are willing to tolerate […] Develop questions that test for the criteria […] Assemble an appropriate interview team and conduct the interviews

[…] You are looking for fit with your criteria. Often, the front door references will know the candidate best and will be quite helpful in this respect.

3. Make a lonely decision

You must hire the right person for your company at this particular point in time. One could argue that consensus decisions about many hires almost always sway the process away from strength and towards lack of weakness.


Business is still about people. As technology evolves toward ubiquity, it can play a role in supporting humanism.



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