Hangin’ on the iPod-o

Now that my iPod is all decked out in its new iSkin I’ve actually been taking it out to play some more. This has led to two new discoveries. 1) I tend to leave my mobile at home more because I think the lump in my pocket is my phone. 2) It’s fun to download spoken word recordings and listen to them on the way into work.

My favourite IT Conversation so far is from Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the Tipping Point. His chat on Human Nature describes how marketing studies just don’t work because they depend too much on context and subtle clues. One example he gives from his upcoming new book, is where people did a test where they had to join two hanging ropes together in a situation where they couldn’t quite reach both. There were 4 solutions, and people generally found the first 3 easily on their own but then were stumped. So the researcher would brush past one of the ropes gently causing it to swing, at which point the test subjects would ‘suddenly’ come up with the idea of swinging on the rope. When asked why this was later, they would say that they suddenly had the idea of a monkey in the forest or some such thing. From this he concludes that people are strongly affected by eternal context, but then create their own stories around why they do things. Scary – especially in the face of the upcoming elections.

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