Archive for May, 2010

Do not Disturb!

Posted on May 30th, 2010 · Posted in Individual Solutions

My Nokia E71 smartphone has a selection of available specialized profiles, of which the most useful one is probably “Silent”, for use in meetings and theatres. Useful, yet I use it with trepidation. I fear the Silent profile because I KNOW, I’m practically certain, that I will forget to turn it off when the meeting is over, only to discover later an accumulation of “missed calls”. The obvious solution, which seems to elude the good designers at Nokia (and at the makers of every other Smartphone I’ve used to date), is to implement a profile of “silent for one hour”,.. Read more

At last – a meeting cost calculator!

Posted on May 24th, 2010 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Meetings consume precious time like a SUV guzzles gas. I remember that Andy Grove, Intel’s legendary co-founder, once wrote that you need half a dozen approvals to buy a $5000 copier but can call a meeting of 20 managers – whose time costs far more – without anyone raising an eyebrow. The fact is, the time cost of meetings is enormous and usually overlooked. Now, time spent on a well led, interactive, lively meeting is very well spent; but all too often meetings are long, boring and useless, especially when everyone is doing email… and when they drag on, or.. Read more

Yes it IS Information Overload, Clay Shirky, not only Filter Failure

Posted on May 18th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

You can see it on Twitter every day, a year and a half after he coined it: Clay Shirky’s famous Filter Failure meme, “It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure”. It’s catchy. It’s thought-provoking. And yet, I believe, it’s also misleading. This meme started with an excellent keynote Clay gave at Web 2.0 Expo NY in late 2008, and I strongly recommend you watch the video if you haven’t already: it’s very insightful and interesting. If you’re too overloaded to spend 23 minutes, some of the ideas are also in a CJR interview here. To sum it up, Clay says.. Read more

Meetings: Shorter is Better

Posted on May 13th, 2010 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Meetings consume a big portion of the knowledge worker’s week, and are notoriously unproductive (small wonder, what with everybody doing email). Improving meeting effectiveness is therefore a big deal; I’ve seen it done right with great positive impact, and the converse too. It takes some doing… but there is one way meetings can be improved immediately: by abandoning the tyranny of the one-hour slot. Most meetings in the world are set for an hour or two, simply because we all live by the clock, and it is calibrated in hours. This is also reflected in most calendars, whether paper or.. Read more

Online Silence and Trust

Posted on May 8th, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

I lectured at the Info 2010 conference this week, where we had a special track dedicated to Information Overload, with many excellent speakers. One of these was Dr. Yoram Kalman, a key contributor to IORG and a long time friend, who presented his research into Online Silence. This is the phenomenon, so familiar to us all, where you send an email to a person and no reply comes back. After a few days you get restless and resend; often this will remain of no avail. Then you phone the recipient, and perhaps leave a message urging they look for your.. Read more

Collecting Manifestations of an Obsession

Posted on May 2nd, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

Knowing my specialization in Information Overload, people around me tend to share stories from their own observations of people submitting to obsessive reading of email 24×7. For example: one friend reports being at an airport, seeing a family with young children waiting in line with their luggage on a cart. The mother was holding on to the cart, and trying to keep an eye on the kids. The father was banging on a Notebook doing email… (I can imagine that despite this fine proof of the feminine capacity for multitasking, his wife would have preferred to share the burden with.. Read more