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Two videos: Time and Small Stuff

June 16, 2010

Phillip Zimbardo on how cultural and personal perceptions of time affect how we learn, do business, have relationships and decide what’s important:

Important, heavy topic, sure.  But notice how cool the presentation technique is!  Yes, it probably takes about a half hour of production time for every minute of a video like this, but it’s amazing and actually very instructive.  Makes you wonder what classrooms could be like if we were starting from scratch.

And now, for the lighter side of the customer experience, ad man Rory Sutherland:

This video, though it’s about small things, has HUGE implications for government, business, sales and support.  Think about those little changes that, while costing little or nothing, make a big difference in the user experience.

I especially like the part about how applying more force or spending more money might have a perverse effect.  Sometimes a kilo of lentils makes all the difference.

And think for a moment about the software business.  It’s almost as if they go out of their way to make their customers feel stupid.  But for monopoly, this would be a staggeringly stupid business model.  Even when their software works the way it’s supposed to, it seems to be saying to us; “Well!  You managed not to screw it up today.”

Now a subset of the software business, Apple.  Their stuff is as simple as they can make it.  You might think; it’s a computer for dumb people, but the opposite is true.  Using a well-designed computer, though simpler, makes you feel smart.  This could be why 1) Apple computer users say; “I love my computer” while PC users seldom do, and 2) why Apple’s market cap just surpassed Microsoft a couple weeks ago.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. David Engel
    June 17, 2010 at 09:28 | #1

    Thanks! Great videos.

  2. Blaze
    June 17, 2010 at 20:16 | #2

    Once I worked in a print shop that also offered desktop stations for rent by the hour.  We had a mix of Macs and Windoze.  One customer observed, while we were rebooting a Mac;  “When a PC freezes and needs to be restarted, we want to throw it thru a window.  When a Mac needs to be restarted, we’re more ‘are you alright?  How can I help?’”

    I’m still in that mindset, but I do find it fading as Apple seems to be getting a bit big for their britches.

  3. gruntled atheist
    June 17, 2010 at 20:18 | #3

    The first video is terrific.  The guy in the second is correct.  There are so many small and cheap ways to make improvements.  Thanks.

  4. Blaze
    June 17, 2010 at 20:36 | #4

    Speaking to Mr. Sutherland’s video (love that TED stuff!), the parallels to my life as an artist are striking.  When a client asks for “anything at all.  surprise me!”, this blank page freedom is very similar to the “big budgets/big power” he was speaking of.  My mind just stares slack-jawed into space.

    However, if the client tells me the graphic has to be predominantly green, fit into a 10 cm square and screams “adventure” to the viewer, likely as anything my mind will start churning out ideas by the bucket.  These “restrictions” are the equivalent of slashing my “budget” to nothing and forcing me to be clever.

  5. June 18, 2010 at 16:13 | #5

    The most amazing video I have seen in a while.. I totally agree that children are being programmed to think about the future rather than live in the present moment. And for some reason, we always tell our children that having fun is equivalent to commuting sin. But I do feel that the future generations are going to focus living in the now rather than worrying about the future.

  6. June 19, 2010 at 14:28 | #6

    The first video has some frightening implications.  (Note:  I haven’t yet watched the second one.)

    I agree the presentation technique is absolutely first rate, and drives the message home.  But if the brains of young people are “being rewired”, then I think there is danger.  The ability to single task, to be truly present in the moment and fully aware is at the core of happiness and health.  The presenter almost glossed over the coronary rates in the high future oriented societies, and that’s not the only negative effect.

  7. Karen
    June 21, 2010 at 00:37 | #7

    Lots of stuff to think about from those videos.  Thank you.

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