Infinite Hows, Decisions, and Making it Online

Color Names
Making Sense:

This week I have taken a deeper look at finding better tools to make decisions when confronted with complexity, an issue that has become more common in business.

  • The Infinite Hows. O'Reilly Radar: The issue with the Five Whys is that it’s tunnel-visioned into a linear and simplistic explanation of how work gets done and events transpire. This narrowing can be incredibly problematic. In the best case, it can lead an organization to think they’re improving on something (or preventing future occurrences of events) when they’re not. In the worst case, it can re-affirm a faulty worldview of causal simplification and set up a structure where individuals don’t feel safe in giving their narratives because either they weren’t asked the right “why?” question or the answer that a given question pointed to “human error” or individual attributes as causal.
  • Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. Chip Heath & Dan Heath: Being decisive isn’t about making the perfect decision every time. That isn’t possible. Rather, it’s about being confident that we’ve considered the right things, that we’ve used a smart process. The two of us have met a lot of people who tell us they agonize endlessly about their decisions. They get stuck in a cycle where they just keep spinning their wheels. To escape that cycle, we often need a shift in perspective. [more here]

Making Do:

What our sense of color can teach us about our similarities.

  • Color Survey Results. ykcd: Basically, women were slightly more liberal with the modifiers, but otherwise they generally agreed (and some of the differences may be sampling noise).  The results were similar across the survey—men and women tended on average to call colors the same names. So I was feeling pretty good about equality.  Then I decided to calculate the ‘most masculine’ and ‘most feminine’ colors.  I was looking for the color names most disproportionately popular among each group…
  • Emoji to get some long-awaited diversity with new range of skin tones. The Guardian: The available tones are based on the Fitzpatrick scale, a standardised method of classifying human skin color used by dermatologists. Users will be able to change the skin tone of all human characters and body parts, from the dancing woman to the praying hands. The skin tone modifier will affect both characters in an image.

Making It:

Online content plays now require either scale and algorithmic ability on par with giants like Google and Facebook, or total focus on a niche.

  • The fall of SAY Media is a sign the barbell effect is increasing. Matt Ingram: At one end of that barbell is “programmatic” advertising of the kind that Google does with AdWords and AdSense, which are high volume but low margin (not for Google, of course, but for brands and publishers) and driven entirely by algorithms, with no real requirement for human involvement. The other end is custom content — high-concept advertising of various kinds, whether it’s native advertising or magazine-style ads that are designed to create a mood rather than just accumulate as many clicks as possible.
  • Vox Media doesn’t just have to reinvent the news — it has to reinvent advertising too. GigaOm: With more and more media companies focusing on these same targets — high-quality brand advertising and live events — as a way of boosting their flagging online revenues, Vox is going to have to run twice as hard to stay ahead of the pack, regardless of how good Ezra Klein’s team is.

[image via]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

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