Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Flip Service...

Finished reading the book Flip by Peter Sheahan. The book, as you may have guessed, is about doing the opposite of what conventional wisdom suggests.

Things to no particular order:

- Sheahan says "there is no wisdom in crowds" and goes on to qualify that by saying crowds don't innovate but only validate an innovation. I don't, obviously, agree. To my mind, what is meant by "wisdom of crowds" is not that groups innovate as a single entity but that groups are a breeding ground for ideas as a consequence of conversations, combination of knowledge, brainstorming and so forth.

Happy to get that out of the way. Now, to some of the things I was able to relate to....

- Pg 65. "Only after making the decision emotionally do we call upon our cognitive processes to rationalize our behaviour" [Fascinating and quite true I guess!There are times when I've surprised myself after having to justify something in retrospect. But this could even be what Malcolm Gladwell's Blink is all about]

- As I read one of the chapters on how consumers decide to purchase something it made me ponder over how, many of us buy something not because we may identify with the brand and what it stands for completely but more because we want the world to associate us with that brand and what it stands for. (Drink Sprite if you want to be seen as a straightforward and blunt person. You may however not really be such a straightforward person! Drink Miranda if you want to appear a little crazy and lighthearted etc)

- The last two chapters were the most exciting part of the book. These were about "giving up control to get it" and "action before clarity". One of the examples that the author refers to, to demonstrate how giving up control can lead to success, is how TV programs have now changed with many reality shows now involving the audience and even letting them make decisions. For me, personally, the last chapter was a hard slap on the face. Sheahan has penned a very compelling and inspiring chapter on how we should not wait too long for clarity to emerge before doing something and sometimes it would be just right to take the plunge. He assures and convinces the reader that clarity will follow action. (That reminded me of some situations wherein I gave up on some colleagues who I thought will provide clarity and instead decided to let them come back with comments after we'd put something in place. Adopting such an approach is a lot less frustrating than waiting for information and understanding...though in the long run, it may mean more wastage in terms of time, effort and resources. Also, one needs to then grit one's teeth and bear the irony of accepting comments and inputs that could have very well been provided earlier)

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