Blog. Insight, issues, opinions and productivity solutions

New Insight Article: Libraries and Knowledge in an Age of Information Overload

Posted on December 13, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

In October I gave an invited keynote lecture at the XV International Conference on University Libraries at UNAM, the national university of Mexico. The conference theme was how libraries can face the challenges of the coming years, when infinite knowledge is available to anyone at the swipe of a smartphone screen, and continue to provide value to their users and to society; my keynote was to address the phenomenon of information overload and its repercussions for both libraries and users. This gave me an opportunity to combine two fascinating domains: my core field of Information Overload, and the evolution of.. Read more

One Thing at a Time: Debunking Multitasking

Posted on October 17, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms, Individual Solutions

Dinotopia is one of the lovelier literary utopias out there. Introduced as a lavishly illustrated book by James Gurney, and later made into a TV miniseries, it tells of a fictional island where intelligent dinosaurs and humans coexist and collaborate in a peaceful society; the absurdity of the premise is offset by Gurney’s magnificent illustrations. And although this blog seldom deals with dinosaurs, real or fictional, there is a point in the book that is relevant here. The code of Dinotopia The citizens of Dinotopia obey the ancient “Code of Dinotopia”, which consists of 11 short commandments, such as “Give.. Read more

Remembering Deming

Posted on July 28, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Do you remember Deming? Heck, do you even know who Deming was? W. Edwards Deming (1900 – 1993) did not found any Start-ups, head any corporations, or promote visions of a greener Earth. Why should you know of him? And yet he had a profound influence on our world, and his thinking changed the fate of entire industries. What’s more, he was a man of piercing understanding and wisdom, and he created a management philosophy deserving our admiration. He was unknown in his native USA for most of his life, and now is sliding back into oblivion. I, however, remember.. Read more

Banning Email Use After Hours: an Update

Posted on June 29, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Five and a half years ago I blogged about how Volkswagen decided to turn off its Blackberry servers outside of work hours, thereby affording employees some quality time with their families and their lives. It was a pioneering move and a courageous one, and I added my hope that other companies would take note. It took a while, but now companies and legislators are not merely taking note – they’re taking action. In fact some of them are not only enabling, but also enforcing a barrier between Work and Life that email may not penetrate. There is much more to.. Read more

Video: My Lecture on Trends in Innovative Information Overload Solutions

Posted on June 21, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

I was invited to give a Webinar for an IBM group interested in Information Overload and how to solve it. I shared with the group my take on the evolution of solutions to this problem from the mid-90s to the present – and the likely future. Here is the video, shared with permission.

Broken Communication Across the Generation Gap

Posted on May 25, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

Fathers and Sons I was talking to a veteran manager and he told me an anecdote that caught my interest. This man had a son that had a room in the upstairs floor of the family house. One day the son told him he was sending him a web link of interest; the link failed to arrive. The father asked for a resend, which the son promptly effected; yet still no link was received. Finally my friend asked what email address the kid was sending it to – and the son, surprised, said “Skype!”… A growing communication gap What was.. Read more

Email, Digital Photography, and the Hole in our Historical Record

Posted on April 30, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

Letters from the past One fine day in the 20th century BCE Ilabrat-bani, an Assyrian merchant from Kültepe in Anatolia, wrote to one Amur-ili a letter concerning shipments of textiles, and providing advice for travel. The letter, written in cuneiform on a clay tablet, survived to reach present day historians and inform their research. On June 8th of 1511 Piero Venier, a merchant living in Sicily, penned a letter to his sisters in Venice. It contained his observations from an Auto de Fe he’d witnessed in Palermo, where the Spanish Inquisition burned at the stake conversos suspected of heresy amid.. Read more

BLUF! A Great Method to Get Your Message Across

Posted on March 30, 2017 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

BLUF: Put the main takeaway – the bottom line – of your message at its very beginning.   BLUF? What on Earth is that? BLUF stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. It is a term coined, apparently, in the US Army, and it denotes a model for effective message writing. The idea is to reverse the usual method, where you first present your case, your arguments and justifications, and then – at the end – draw the conclusions or decisions. Instead you put the conclusion, the main thing you need the reader to understand, at the very beginning of the.. Read more

The Problem with Work-Life Balance

Posted on February 24, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Guest post by Toby Ruckert (Twitter / LinkedIn) Originally published on my blog. I’ve been self-employed essentially my whole life, and this year marks the 25th anniversary since starting my entrepreneurial journey in 1992. Being an entrepreneur naturally comes with a lifestyle that makes it hard to draw the line between work and life. Discussions about work-life balance simply aren’t very productive when your business is (such a big part of) your life, especially when you’re the one who started it. And while many told me that we should separate life from work to be happy, I don’t believe in.. Read more

Thoughts on the Pew Report on Information Overload

Posted on January 20, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

The news about a report from the Pew Research Center drew some media attention recently. Pew surveyed the American public and found that Information Overload is not a big deal! Specifically, they found that: Some 20% of the surveyed adults in the U.S. say they feel overloaded by information, a decline from the 27% figure from a decade earlier. 77% of them told Pew that they like having so much information at their fingertips. 67% say that having more information at their fingertips actually helps to simplify their lives! 79% say that having a lot of information makes them feel.. Read more