My Experiences -Last time (MELT) – 0813

Am I dead ?- have not received SMS or mail from my network or no FB updates
In my last blog I talked about improved networking and communication through social media. Social media has enabled to connect in a unique and powerful way which otherwise would not have been possible. However, I have observed it comes at a cost.
I am sure you would have witnessed in many public places such as airports, train station, bus terminals, shopping malls etc kids holding on to some electronic gadgets and getting immersed in them. They are totally unaware of what’s happening around them and clueless about how to interact with someone for few minutes.
This is not happening only to children but also adults. The other day when I was reading a book (on my return to Bangalore), one of my fellow passenger admired my tenacity to read beyond two pages at a given stretch of time. Our attention is all drawn towards electronic gadgets and emotional rapport is missing these days.
Easily our attention span for important things has reduced. We have now concepts of elevator speech to communicate important announcements. More complex the communication and wider the reach, the speech becomes shorter. Overheard a comment from a reputed business school professor “ if your vision is not explained in 40 words, you lost the plot’. Why do we have so less time for important things? To me this is knowledge imbalance of wanting to know more than what we need to know. We have too much of data to interpret and floods of e-mails to read whether relevant or not.
The inability to resist checking email, FB or SMS has become compulsive disorder. Here is the test for everyone. Keep your phone or computer in front of you and refrain from checking any message/e-mails for at least an hour. Can you do it?
I have observed people go with laptop, blackberry’s and smart phones in important meetings and get themselves distracted from important issues. We can very well imagine the quality of decisions coming out of those meetings. They should ask themselves what opportunities they missed while they got themselves distracted.
So you must be wondering why am I saying all this to you. I want you to get rid of this addiction and start a movement akin to AA( Alcoholic Anonymous) and transform our corporate and social life. How can we get people to become more aware of how they use attention? Any insights suggestion to improve will be most welcome.
Here is what one of the restaurants in San Francisco does. It takes away your mobile devices as you enter and give it back when you are finished with Dinner/Lunch. Of course, you can insist on taking the device with you but at a higher cost of some 10% which will be added to your bill. They do this to in order to facilitate quality time with your near and dear ones.

Catchy tune
Some of you would have heard of analytical tool to support technical analysis, trend analysis etc which aims at predicting the future be it stock price, profitability, market growth and product success. Have you heard of software that will predict whether a tune/ song would be popular or not. A company called Polyphonic has created a software which analyzed mathematical characteristics of a tune and predicted it popularity. I am told that this program predicted popularity of Norah Jones’s Come Away with Me even though DJ’s and experts thought it would fail. If this was true then every song would be popular as people would not like to release unpopular numbers. Life is not that simple. Some songs have become popular even though it was not predicted to be popular. How do they do it ? It is no different from promoting a product. Typically, promoters of an album or a song do their bit to ensure it becomes popular. They often use radio stations to play a particular song repeatedly. Sometimes they use a song before or after a popular song to get rub off effect. The more it gets played; it gets registered in one’s mind. Once you are familiar, you would like to listen to a song again and again so it is a vicious circle. So in short, a song which you did not like during the first time becomes your favorite tune after a while. Another thing music industry does very well is insert a catchy tune or note which is already popular into their new composition. The bottom line is the listener would want to hear a song only when it is familiar to them.
Now why don’t we perform a test on your own taste on music. Pick a song you like and try to trace any familiarity with a song that was/is already popular or successful. I would be happy to get your feedback and test this hypothesis.
Dig the well before you get thirsty. This is a Chinese proverb which means that you should be prepared for known and unpredictable outcomes. In the era of disruptive technologies which transforms industry over night, this proverb assumes greater importance. Do not wait to get to the point of no return and then wish things were different.
It is ironic that I thought of this Chinese proverb as there is also a book with similar title by Harvey Mackay which claims to be the only networking book. I have seen people boasting about 500+ connections in Linkedin but I am not impressed. Show me six connections with whom you interact often and have shared values.
I would like to keep this blog for less than thousand words as I know many can’t read two pages at a stretch as claimed by one of my past acquaintances. With those noble thought, I bid good bye with my usual signature Life is Beautiful.

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2 Comments on “My Experiences -Last time (MELT) – 0813”

  1. […] My Experiences -Last time (MELT) – 0813. […]

  2. Winston Says:

    Great insight Suresh. I would like to share some of the learnings that has come out of our experience of using social more to communicate and engage with our employees. Will drop you a note sometime 🙂

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