Daniel Pink: To Sell Is Human

From  To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Pink, Daniel H. (2012-12-31).

About a year ago, in a moment of procrastination masquerading as an act of reflection, I decided to examine how I spend my time. I opened my laptop, clicked on the carefully synched, color-coded calendar, and attempted to reconstruct what I’d actually done over the previous two weeks. I cataloged the meetings attended, trips made, meals eaten, and conference calls endured. I tried to list everything I’d read and watched as well as all the face-to-face conversations I’d had with family, friends, and colleagues. Then I inspected two weeks of digital entrails— 772 sent e-mails, four blog posts, eighty-six tweets, about a dozen text messages. When I stepped back to assess this welter of information— a pointillist portrait of what I do and therefore, in some sense, who I am— the picture that stared back was a surprise: I am a salesman.

I was listening to HBR Ideacast – an interview with Daniel Pink. In those 15 minutes, Pink shares some amazing observations about sales covering a variety of topics:

  • Information Assymetry and Information Parity and their effect on sales
  • Introverts vs Extroverts
  • Buoyancy and the ratio of positive to negative emotions in sales
  • Subject lines in email messages – utility vs curiosity

I recommend listening to this podcast (even if you are not in Sales). I bought the book and expect to learn a lot from it.

Book Log: If I Could Reverse The Thought Process

if I could reverse the thought process that led to innovative products and find the questions that might have generated these ideas, would those same questions lead to new discoveries and new products in the future?

From Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation by McKinney, Phil (2012-02-07).

Just started reading it. Will post more snippets. You can start out by listening to Phil’s Killer Innovation Podcasts.

Good Reads: A New Kind of Team

From The Future of Talent is Clusters 

A New Kind of Team: Clusters

Clusters are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. They are formed outside a company context, but are hired and paid by companies as a unit, as a permanent part of the company. They manage, govern and develop themselves; define their own working practices and tools; and share out remuneration. Technology trends and tools like the cloud, and collaboration suites, are evolving to make this more and more workable.

Clusters actively seek the variety of skills, talents, and personalities necessary to create a high performing team.

A related concepts:

Open Innovation Teams, Team Capital, Belbin Team Roles


Link Log: What NLP Can Do For You

From Seth Grimes article – NLP: Everyday, Analytical & Unusual Uses

Every business process (or personal need) that involves speech or text with volume, velocity, or complexity sufficient to push you to seek automated assistance can benefit from natural language processing. So let’s review, systematically, what NLP can do for you. What follows are 23 facets, plus examples illustrating implementations and R&D initiatives.

When someone says “Mercury”…

From Google Research Blog – Learning from Big Data: 40 Million Entities in Context

When someone mentions Mercury, are they talking about the planet, the god, the car, the elementFreddie, or one of some 89 other possibilities? This problem is called disambiguation (a word that is itself ambiguous), and while it’s necessary for communication, and humans are amazingly good at it (when was the last time you confused a fruit with agiant tech company?), computers need help.

Uses of big data are exploding. But in the case of unstructured data, context can help a lot. And this context is probably just to give us a taste.