Archives for posts with tag: complexity


It’s charitable Friday here at the Global Headquarter of my company and I wanted to save you money. $9.07 for above book (you can only pre-order right now. Oh, and no link on purpose.)

There’s certainly a benefit for marketers to learn about a new platform as much as they can before they recommend it to clients. I’m all for that. But this book is a joke. It’s clearly written for non-marketers, for the person at home that heard about Pinterest and wants to participate. Ok, grab your $9.07 and invest it in a decent lunch because here’s the real Pinterest for Dummies.

1. Find an interesting image.

2. Pin it.

3. Do it again.

I’m all for cognitive surplus but do we really need to write and read books about the most simplistic topics? As I said, I’m in a charitable mood and I’m going to save you even more money.

Weight Loss for Dummies

1. Eat less.

2. Exercise more.

Stop smoking for Dummies

1. Don’t smoke

I’m not sure what annoys me more: When people turn complex problems into simplistic thoughts/slogans: “The economy is Obama’s fault.” “All bankers are evil.” or when people create faux complexity out of a simple thing.

What about you?


Image courtesy of

During the dot-com bust, I interviewed for a position with a digital consulting firm. The job description sounded like a good match, the company had a good reputation and strong growth: I was excited. After speaking to the CEO for 5 minutes, I knew his company wouldn’t be my future home. Why? Because I had no idea what he was talking about. Every other word was a buzzword, he must have made up words on the fly and the sentences were so long and convoluted, I felt he was filibustering the interview.

One reason brands have problems connecting with people is their use of language. A few examples:

Dachis Group: “Social Business Design helps companies reinvent themselves into dynamic, socially calibrated organizations that gain constant value from their ecosystem of connections.”

Dell: “Increase workforce flexibility while storing data or secure servers – enabling highly centralized control over your distributed environment and aligning clients with their organizational needs.”

Ford: “Covert aerodynamic design and critical technology such as the class-exclusive PowerShift six-speed automatic and 1.6L Ti-VCT Duratec® I4 engine with twin-independent variable cam timing make it a responsive and fuel-responsible driving experience.”

I chose those 3 companies because they’re often heralded as the pioneers of Social Media and Social Business. Did you have any clue what they were talking about? I had some idea but became bored a few words in.

We have developed a lexicon of contrived gobbledygook meant to confuse people not to enlighten them. How can you claim to be social when your outward language is anti-social?

Just go to digital conferences and half the words abused have no real definition (Engagement), 1 million definitions (brand) or their meaning changes day by day (Success Metrics). We tend to use imprecise words to cloud our confusion and hide the fact our thoughts are not that well-thought-out. A refined thought doesn’t need to come in a convoluted package. Or, as Winston Churchill said: “Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”

Amidst the corporate gibberish, brands have a unique opportunity to stand out from the masses by speaking plainly yet intelligently about the matter at hand. Not only only will you be seen as having a stronger grasp of the issues, but people will form stronger connections with companies.

In a complex world, any effort to simplify will be appreciated.