Tuned

Marketing, musings, and the future

Don’t take my curmudgeons away.

My grandfather wrote countless letters to the editor. He cornered the pastor after church with pointed commentary. He dominated dinner parties with his political views, talking over everyone else, pretending it was his slight deafness and not his personality that was the cause. When people saw him coming across the room, they often turned and marched not so subtly in the other direction.

As I was reading Flipboard the other day, I was waxing poetic about the beauty of algorithms that served up just the news that I wanted to hear.  I thought about all those dire warnings of the futurists saying that one day we would all pay for vacations that allowed us to turn off our electronics….and I chortled gleefully, “not me! With social search and automated news mashups, I’m going to win the war of the information glut.”

And then like an errant thread in a sweater, I unraveled my glee with the thought, “Wait a minute. There seems to be an inherent danger to only being exposed to news that you WANT to hear.”

The best ideas, the sharpened wit, the honed argument….all of these come out of an atmosphere of diverse ideas if not dissent. Consider the following:

  • The collective intelligence of teams has been shown to be higher with more diversity
  • Companies with more diverse boards (that include women) have a higher profit margin
  • A key part of high performing teams is their ability to avoid group think by accepting that conflict and challenge is a good thing if handled well.

As we embark upon this adventure that we call social search and seek to implement intelligent agents, don’t forget to keep a few curmudgeons in your news and social circles. You may not always agree, but you—and your causes—will be the better for it.

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3 comments on “Don’t take my curmudgeons away.

  1. As always, an interesting read.
    Thanks for appreciable content.

  2. Nancy Tandon
    June 27, 2012

    Hmmm. With apologies to my husband, this makes me realize why we seem to work so well together as a team!

  3. merrilyndatta
    July 3, 2012

    Thanks for the comments! I recently saw this blog on HBR blogs which speaks to the power of harnessing conflict too. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/07/conflict_keeps_teams_at_the_to.html

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This entry was posted on June 27, 2012 by in Technology.

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