Why we Act Irrationally and the Cult of the Algorithm

Is it Spring yet?Making Sense:

When unchecked, the complex webs we weave ourselves end up masking what is going on — and preventing us from asking better questions based on faithware.

  • Why We Act Irrationally: Harvard Psychologist Ellen Langer Reveals the One Word That Drives Our Senseless Habits. James Clear: The reasons that we use to guide our behavior are just stories that we tell ourselves. Sometimes, those stories are true and accurate. We all have reasons for why now isn’t the right time for that bold move, why we slip up on habits that we say are important to us, and, yes, why we do favors for strangers. What we often fail to realize, however, is that our behaviors can just as easily be driven by irrational reasons as logical ones.
  • Watch Hilary Mason discredit the cult of the algorithm. GigaOm: Mason actually builds algorithms and is well-versed in what they can and cannot do. She’s quick to dismantle the cult that has been built up around algorithms and machine learning as companies try to make sense of all the data they have coming in, and as they try to market products built on learning algorithms in the wake of Nest’s $3.2 billion sale to Google (I call those efforts faithware).

Making Do:

An industry dedicated to communications having difficulty with walking the talk through its hiring practices. People with those skills exist (hi.) They just don't look like the people you already have. That is valid for companies as well. The future is unlike the past.

  • Paucity of digital/social skill at senior PR levels is a threat to the industry. Holtz Report: Even though the industry recognizes digital/social’s crucial role in the practice of PR, the skills required to execute don’t exist among the industry’s ranks. Technical and digital skills were considered the weakest among survey respondents. The skills gap worsens with experience; the more senior the practitioner, the less likely she is to have technical and digital skills. Even worse, nobody is seeking senior professionals with any digital/social competencies.
  • Marissa Mayer Has Completed Step One. Backchannel: “What I’m really proud about is building ourselves a future,” she says. “If you had told me two years ago we would basically have done this, I would have pinched myself. Does that mean that transformation is done? No. Does that mean we have successfully completed step one? That’s been great.”

Making It:

Where there is a will, there is a way — and a but.

  • The Psychology of Notifications: How to Send Triggers that Work. Nir & Far: What makes an effective trigger? How can you be sure that the notifications you’re sending are welcome and lead to higher engagement instead of driving users away? […] The worst offenders bear the wrath of fickle users who stop using, unsubscribe, or uninstall products that don’t respect the rules of building good triggers.
  • Netflix is Absolutely Incredible, But Risks Everything. Capital Markets Labs: astounding result number one: Netflix earns $2.4 million per employee, the single largest in all of mega cap technology. The only company even close is Apple at $2 million per employee (as an aside, that’s ridiculous given how large Apple is). […] Netflix revenue has grown 50% over the last two-years and is on a consecutive quarter streak that looks unbreakable.


[is it Spring yet?]