Archives for posts with tag: Humanity


The early stages of the digital revolution was led by programmers and computer scientists. One of the most important outcome of the last years was replacing the need for privacy with the need for visibility. While this exchange has many benefits, it doesn’t help people to develop original thoughts.

I’m not handwringing or whining about this outcome, but I believe we’ve gone too far. The visibility and connectivity bubble is about to deflate and we’re about to enter the age of digital enlightenment. Programmers and computer scientists will continue to be an important force in the digital revolution; leadership will come from thinkers, intellectuals, artists and storytellers. These people are driven by an emerging vision that’s much more individualistic, centered around humanity, intimacy and, yes, feelings instead of connecting the world into a data-driven monster.

Sharing has become a robot-like behavior

More and more people retweet links without even reading them. Check-ins on Foursquare have become bot-like behavior, Facebook should change its brand color to pink: it’s a unicorn world. Meaningful conversations are uncommon on any of our favorite platforms. The whole idea of conversations has turned into a huge echo chamber, filled with people backslapping each other: You think like us and you’ll be part of us.

The Web will gain in importance over time: Our kids will live on it, learn from it, get most of their information from it. I’m not interested to see our future grow up in a virtual echo chamber where being more equal than anybody else is being rewarded.

The mindful Web

There’s a reason why people need to take a sabbatical from the web. It’s exhausting to exist in the echo chamber, being reactive and celebratory. Once in a while we need to take some time to think.

Who said it has to be that way? Shouldn’t we design technology that makes us much smarter, supports constructive dialogue, filled with quality content and intimacy? Less immediate gamification gratification, more different points of views.

We see the beginnings of this new age: Brainpickings, Cowbird, Twenty@. We’ll see if any of these will pan out but as long as we’re trending towards a more balanced digital world, we’re going to continue to see brighter lights. A digital world that teaches us, just like we learned to respond. And marketers, as the Zeitgeist amplifiers, will play their part by intensifying the new habits and behaviors.

via Brainpickings

Yesterday we drove by the battlefield of Verdun, site of one the most devastating fights in the history of warfare. Surprisingly, World War I was also a place of amazing humanity. As Maria Popova wrote:

In December of 1914, a series of grassroots, unofficial ceasefires took hold of the Western Front in the heat of WWI. On Christmas, British and German soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and sing songs across the trenches, some even walked over to their opponents bearing gifts. The incident became one of the most heart-warming displays of humanity in the history of human conflict and was dubbed the Christmas Truce.

This lovely short film captures the story and spirit of this symbolic moment of peace, grace and humility amidst one of modernity’s most violent and disgraceful events.”

That’s what Christmas is about: Even in the darkest hours, there’s a light in all of us. We just have to discover and live it.

Yesterday we drove by the battlefield of Verdun, site of one the most devastating fights in the history of warfare. Surprisingly, World War I was also a place of amazing humanity. As Maria Popova wrote:


All of us think we’re unique. We have our genes, family history and problems, challenges we faced, defeats and wins. But, besides our idiosyncrasies, we’re not that unique as human beings. In fact, we’re 99% social primates and 1% individuals. We love to run with a crowd.

The majority of marketers believe in uniqueness

We develop hundreds of segments and try to target them behaviorally. We segment people out through demographics and psychographics. While this does improve results incrementally, I think it’s based on the wrong premise that more divides us than unites us.

I would argue, more unites us than divides us. There are human truths and needs that are common to everyone. There are cultural differences we need to incorporate in all our messaging but communicating a common truth is more important to people than something that appeals to their false sense of uniqueness. People are not unique. Including you.

The best source of insight: You

Since we’re all the same, it makes sense to start any marketing project with a self-examination. Understanding why we do the things we do. What makes us change behavior. How hard it is to change behavior.

I am a fan of real insight, the revelations derived from real life, not research. And the truth is that the very best place to start in deriving real insight is yourself – so called planning from within. Your forensic understanding of your own behaviour and attitudes is your best first step in understanding how to change that behaviour and those attitudes. You need to look deep into yourself to understand humanity and what drives each one of us. That thinking helped us in one of our latest projects when we discussed with a client at what point people are open to pay more for business class and when they don’t see any value. And we realized that people often are more concerned about getting quickly and comfortable to the plane than getting quickly and comfortable to the destination. They rather pay for quick security checks, lounge access and immediate baggage retrieval than for plush seats in the plane. Dramatically the message.

The good news is that this approach to gathering insights and changing behavior works for almost all of us. The remaining, unique 1% of you need to find a different approach. You’re just too unique. The majority of us are just humans.

Television is a drug. from Beth Fulton on Vimeo.

Brilliant video. Sometimes we need to reflect on our habits and routines. And understand why we do what we do. While for some TV remains the entertainment drug of choice, in my social graph this has been replaced supplemented by Email, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other platforms. We’re becoming rats in a Skinner experiment: We check our email and connections frequently. Most of the time, we receive useless information or spam. Once in a while, we get an important piece of information. The arrival of this reward is unpredictable. And, so we continue to check until we receive something worthy. And that high from receiving a nice note, interesting info, breaking news etc., makes us return to email and platforms even more frequently.

Is this behavior just part of being human? Or is it an expression of inhumanity, transforming us into slaves to the machines?

John Wooden Quote

Whenever we hear about the illness of a giant like John Wooden, we get scared an era is ending. That is true for “The Greatest Generation”, any bad news about Vin Scully, Walter Cronkite’s death – you have your own list of people that you admire and their (possible) loss marks a point of no return in your mind.

While I’m very saddened to hear about John Wooden’s grave illness and hope for another 99 years of his wisdom, we should never forget that every day new heroes and new giants are born: Hard-working people. Decent human beings. Case in point: Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga.

Now, most of you know the story already: Baseball umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. (To put this in perspective: Almost 400,000 baseball games have been played in the history of the MLB. 20 were perfect games.) Two remarkable things happened: Unlike most umpires (and most human beings in the modern age), Jim Joyce took full responsibility and apologized. He said: “I’m sorry. I had a great angle and I missed the call.”

He received death threats, his Wikipedia page declared him dead and a webpage “Fire Jim Joyce” popped up almost immediately. And what did he do? He apologized in person to Galarraga, answered all media questions, went back to work the next day as the plate umpire and received the lineup card from Galarraga. By apologizing, by being upfront about the mistake, Joyce became a beloved umpire. Even the site says now: “You know after hearing all the talk from both the pitcher and umpire Jim Joyce today, I have only one thought: They are both classier than I am.”

Jim Joyce was only overshadowed by the other hero of the story: Armando Galarraga. And, frankly, without his initial reaction the story might have played out differently. When Joyce blew the call, Galarrage didn’t do the exepcted: He didn’t rant, he didn’t rave, he didn’t kick the dirt. Instead, he just smiled.

And that smile turned a possible game for the ages into a life lesson: Galarraga had all the right in the world to be selfish. He chose to be empathetic. He was perfect that day but he understood that nobody’s perfect. He said: “This happens every day. We’re only human. We make mistakes.”

Armando Galarraga, just brought up from the minors, could have been the 21st pitcher in Baseball history to pitch a perfect game. Now he’s just by himself as an example of forgiveness, kindness and human spirit. On that day, Armando Galarraga was perfect, both on the mound and in his human response to misfortune.

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. – John Wooden

Screen shot 2010-06-04 at 7.50.00 AM

Oh, and a little note to BP: Buying media adjacent to the video of a real hero makes it even more apparent that you have no clue. How many millions of dollars have you spent on buying media, coming up with PR tactics to improve your image? Three small words would be a good start. You don’t need to have a big balance sheet, a PR department, an agency to say “We are sorry.” But you need heart.