Allan Savory caused the slaughter of 40,000 elephants in a vain attempt to save the planet by stopping desertification. It turns out that he succeeded only in turning lush grasslands into desert. And, of course, killing 40,000 elephants. Savory loves animals. He grew up in Africa and adores elephants. So why did he kill them? Scientists Often Do More Harm Than Good Global temperatures are higher now, on average, than they were 100 years ago. I won’t deny that. Nor will I deny that human activity has contributed to that warming. It has. The question is: which human activities contribute go global warming, or AGW (anthropogenic global warming). Climate scientists like James Hansen labor to hide the truth. But they know. The answer is shocking. And the solution is delicious. In this TED talk, biologist Allan Savory explains how he and other scientists discovered that in their vainglorious attempts to improve nature climate scientists and
One of the most powerful tools of influence is fear. Decades of research shows that fear of loss is about three times as motivating as hope for gain. (This changes under certain situations, like conditions of certain loss, but that’s for another time.) So political message writers often use negative messages to influence voters to take a chance on a cause or a candidate. This tactic works well with Republican voters, and less well with Democrats. New neuroscience research tells us why—and what you can do about it. Republicans and Democrats Assess Risk With Different Parts of Their Brains When assessing risk, Republican voters use their amygdala, while Democrats use their left insula. The amygdala are the brain’s primary danger triggers. They kick off the flight-fight-freeze response. The left insula’s primary function involves consciousness of self and others. It processes social information. This is critical to understand if you’re asking people to take a risk.
**UPDATE** The line sped up, I got in, and I love it. Mailbox is a huge improvement over every email app I’ve tried on iOS. It’s better than the gmail app, and way better than the built-in iOS email app. Too bad it works only with gmail. I wish enterprise email system (i.e. Exchange/Outlook) were biased to productivity and action like free, personal email systems. It seems silly that enterprise software slows us down and overloads us with crap, while personal systems let us focus on important things. Perhaps that’s one reason why big companies need government bailouts and regulations–to protect them from small companies that actually get stuff done. Original Post: Over 270,000 people are in line for access to a promising new email app for iPhone called Mailbox. It got a great review on LifeHacker today. The app hit the App Store today, but the company has been taking reservations for weeks. I
Windows 8 reminds me of a drop-dead-gorgeous woman who’s also a violent psychopath: you want to touch, but it might kill you. Windows 8 is so bad that a major shift is about to hit the PC world. That shift will hurt people who make their living on Microsoft-based PCs. What’s so bad about Windows 8? It has two distinct UIs, as different from each other as night and potatoes. The two UIs look and feel completely different. The Desktop side looks like Windows 7’s desktop without a start button. The other UI (formerly called “Metro”) looks beautiful and elegant and intuitive. You’d think that you could work in the desktop side and play in the Metro side. But you can’t. Microsoft blocked your ability to work in only one operating environment. Instead of a start button, you have to navigate to the Start page (the Metro UI) to open a program. Productivity killer. Every shift in environment interrupts your brain.
Gamification just plain works, and companies late to the gamification challenge are likely to get their guts kicked in. This infographic from Maritz Motivation Solutions shows the impact of gamification on traditional loyalty, incentive, and employee recognition programs. [scroll down to see the complete infographic] Two of the more amazing stats: Time on site jumped 250% after gamification. That’s a huge increase in participation with your brand. And every minute they’re engaged with you is a minute their ignoring your competition’s seductions. Program emails open rates leapt 42% among the pilot test group compared to the control group. That means gamification helps email cut through the clutter. Probably because the gamified people were more engaged with the brand. Gamification may be the simplest strategy for engagement. Here’s a formula: 1. Know your players. You might call them users, participants, people, employees, sales reps, but you should think of them as players and treat them as
A few years ago, a major global technology company decided to go green, and really turned off its user community. See the full gallery on Posterous For years, the chachke at the company’s annual conference filled dumpsters. Buttons, cups, badges, highligher sets, USB drives were casually thrown out or over-bought. To save money and reduce waste, this company decided to end the chachke. But users rebelled. Workshop and breakout attendance plummeted. Not only that, participants expressed their disappointment live over Twitter, Slashdot, and Stack Overflow. The company, trying to do good, faced a PR crisis. Subtraction By Subtraction What happens when you take away extrinsic motivators, like badges or points, in a virtual system, or buttons and pins at a conference? For years, scientists have shown that the introduction of extrinsic rewards–points, cash, badges, etc.–can deter desired behavior. Other studies have contradicted this theory. Recently, researchers Jennifer Thom, David R. Millen, and Joan DiMicco of IBM took
But I had to. This blog is about simple solutions, not complete control. The amount of extra meaning I could create with the control I had in WP just didn’t make up for the comlexity I had to manage. We make trade-off like this one all the time. We give up something that we think we need to get more of what we really want. Giving up total control of my blog was painful, but the freedom to let someone else worry upgrades and plug-ins is worth it.And Posterous is very well put together. What controls have you let go of?
I’ve been asking people to name their favorite loyalty programs and what makes that program special. Here’s the why in a word cloud. No surprise that the words “points” and “free” show up. But look how strong “experience” appears. That’s because people value experiences. When a loyalty program delivers a meaningful experience, the dollar value of the programs becomes less important. Another word: connection. Connection was used with only one brand–REI–but everyone who mentioned REI as their favorite included the word “connection” in their description. That’s because people have a drive to bond, Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria described in their book Driven. Taken together, people associate value, meaning, simplicity, ease, surprise, connection, and experience to things they like. Well, duh. The trick is to consciously apply these attributes to everything we create. The profits will follow.
I’ve written about this before. The problem with traffic signals is that they make all of the problems they’re designed to solve worse. By “all the problems” I mean: Pollution Congestion Deaths Accidents Speed of Transit Risk to pedestrians (except those with certain disabilities) Banning red light cameras is a great first step, but the ultimate goal should be elimination of traffic lights altogether. Watch both episodes. Decide for yourself. Turning the lights off worked. Less pollution Fewer accidents (cars and pedestrians) Less congestion Shorter commutes Safer roads Happier people Up to 20 percent better fuel economy Join Free to Choose. Let’s bring the movement to America and to St. Louis.
I got all excited last night. I’m not a huge Starbuck’s fan, but I go there often enough. I haven’t joined their loyalty program, but something on Mashable pushed me to join. Until I actually tried. Mashable said that Starbuck’s was rolling out mobile payment to all of its company-owned stores on Wednesday, January 19. All I needed was a (free) iPhone app and either a credit card or PayPal account to load cash to the app. I loved it. Until I tried it. The app installed simply enough. But I had to fill out a lot of information on the iPhone’s difficult keyboard. Then I leaned that I needed to go into store and purchase a physical card. Or I could order one online. Either way, I had to first buy a piece of plastic. Seriously? I want to load up mobile pay so I can avoid buying a piece of plastic that will