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Hello monika!

Hope you are enjoying your summer. I am getting ramped up for a flurry of travel and events starting in just a couple of weeks.
Here are some things I found interesting last week.
Ev Williams's new company, Medium, is a connected company.

"Here are some of the key tenets that Medium embraces:
  • No people managers. Maximum autonomy.
  • Organic expansion. When a job gets too big, hire another person.
  • Tension resolution. Identify issues people are facing, write them down, and resolve them systematically.
  • Make everything explicit – from vacation policies to decision makers in each area.
  • Distribute decision-making power and discourage consensus seeking.
  • Eliminate all the extraneous factors that worry people so they can focus on work.
"The structure is totally built around the work the company needs to achieve its purpose,” Stirman explains. “We don’t have a hierarchy of people, we have a hierarchy of circles.""

How Medium is building a new kind of company with no managers.
"In a nutshell, the human mind uses a number of automatic mechanisms to determine whether an ad is worth remembering; the overriding principle is future utility, but since future utility cannot be predicted our minds evolved a number of heuristics (automatic mental shortcuts) to predict future utility and save to memory
  • Repetition â€“ We recall ads when we are repeatedly exposed to them (repetition is a marker of potential importance – unless consigned to background noise)
  • Primacy and Recency â€“ We tend to recall the first time we see an ad, and the most recent ad we’ve seen – the others we tend to forget (things that happened first are often more important because they predict what comes later. And things that happened most recently are often the most relevant because they are closest to the present).
  • Surprise â€“ We tend to recall ads that are unusual and stand out, things that are unexpected and unpredicted that happen (or don’t happen)
  • Emotional Impact â€“ We recall ads that trigger emotional responses – emotions are one of the ways the brain prioritises perception and action.
  • Leads to Positive or Negative outcome â€“ We recall ads that lead to personal or observed rewards; the systems in the brain that learn behaviors and habits are especially tuned to the eventual outcome of an action or perception."
Facebook video ads and the true psychology of ad recall.

"Here are three questions that come right from my psychotherapist playbook — they’ll take you straight to the richest vein of content ideas that are already waiting right inside your own mind …

1. What questions is no one in your industry willing to answer?

If you want great content that magnetically attracts your audience’s attention, just answer this question. 
Every time you realize there’s a question no one in your niche dares answer, you can be the person who finally does. Your audience will thank you for it, and your competitors will be left in the dust as you slaughter their sacred cows...

2. What does nearly everyone disagree with you about?

This one comes to you from Peter Thiel, billionaire founder of Paypal and super-smart Facebook investor. He uses this question to get entrepreneurs thinking about world-changing business ideas … and it works.
The question is designed to mine your brain for disruptive and uncomfortable ideas that challenge the status quo. By answering it, you’ll water the niggling seeds of doubt you have about concepts commonly accepted as fact in your industry...

3. What do you believe will happen in the future that other people consider impossible or unlikely?

As a teacher in your chosen industry or niche, you have a depth of knowledge that your customers are in awe of. Demonstrate that knowledge by becoming “futurist for a day,” making bold predictions about the future of your industry."

How to find more content ideas than you'll ever be able to create.
"Great architects build structures that can make us feel enclosed, liberated or suspended. They lead us through space, make us slow down, speed up or stop to contemplate. Great writers, in devising their literary structures, do exactly the same.So what happens when we ask writers to try their hand at architecture?

At the “Laboratory of Literary Architecture,” a course I have taught at the Scuola Holden, a creative writing school in Turin, Italy, and also, this past semester, at the M.F.A. writing program at Columbia University School of the Arts (SOA) in New York, I encourage students to find — or, rather, extract — and then physically build the literary architecture of a text."

Writers as architects.
"[This map is]  based on results from a study of geotagged tweets published earlier this year in PLoS ONE by researchers at the University of Vermont. The team scored more than 10,000 words on a positive-negative scale and measured their frequency in millions of tweets across the country, deliberately ignoring context to eliminate experimental bias. What emerged was significant regional variation in happiness by this calculation, which correlates with other lifestyle measures such as gun violence, obesity and Gallup's traditional wellbeing survey.

The happiest states in America in one map.
Something cool.


"Josef Albers, one of the best-known painters and educators to emerge from the German Bauhaus, wrote Interaction of Color in 1963, and it’s remained an art and design bible ever since. Last week, to commemorate the book’s 50th anniversary, Yale University Press released the Interaction of Color app for the iPad, a modernized, interactive presentation of Albers’s teachings. With fingers instead of paintbrushes and a touch screen instead of paper, users can move and manipulate over 125 color plates in 60 interactive studies. Concepts like color relativity and vibrating boundaries come to life in this $9.99 app, alongside the book’s full text and two hours of video footage."

A bible of color theory is now an app.
Upcoming events.
Dubai, September 16-19, 2013. I'll be speaking at Sibos, the world's largest conference for the financial services industry. Register here.

London, September 23-25, 2013. I'll be speaking at the DARE conference, put on by Jonathan Kahn. I'm not sure I have ever met someone more passionate about catalyzing change in organizations, and I'm proud to have my name associated with this event. Use discount code DAVE13 for £50 off the conference pass.

San Francisco, October 3-4, 2013. I'll be giving a keynote on service design and change at Service Experience, a conference put on by the excellent people at Adaptive Path about the cutting edge of technology, design and everything interactive. Register here and use code BLOG for a 10% discount.

Vienna, October 16-17, 2013. I'll be giving a Gamestorming workshop on October 16th, followed by a talk at the Austrian Innovation Forum on October 17th. Register here.

Milan, October 24-25, 2013. I'll be speaking at Frontiers of Interaction, a conference about the cutting edge of technology, design and everything interactive. Register here.
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