10.05. 2017

Let's be fwends: Crows are jerks

Let's be fwends: Crows are jerks
You're good at problem solving, but do you also think of others?
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And I've got the internet to prove it!

There's a whole compilation of crows being total assholes, and I urge you to drop everything you're currently doing and head there right now!
Crows are really clever, and they are exceptional problem-solvers. Interestingly, their problems seem to mostly fall into one of two categories: (1) "I want to go over to that place but I'm too lazy to fly there myself" and (2) "That guys food should be mine."
And when they solve their problems, they don't care about anything but themselves, and especially not what others think of them. It's all about their own advantage.

Problem-solving with empathy

I've been talking recently with two very good friends about something that is also very clever: Performance Marketing (or Performance-based Advertising). It is - in a nutshell - advertising by shotgun, followed by a reduction in budget for channels that didn't bring enough return, and increasing spending on channels that look more promising.
If it works, we do more of it. If it doesn't, we stop doing it. Even if we don't know why it works or doesn't. Performance Marketing is pretty clever, but it only cares about the advertisers advantage - it's a bit crow-like problem-solving (with a lot of excel-sheets the crows probably are not using).
Funny enough, Seth Godin wrote something about this issue a few days after our little chat. He stresses the importance of empathy and human connection. Something I can get behind.
Even though it seems that the robots are taking over, and all interactions are just a giant A/B-Testing experience, there is actually an ever increasing space for problem-solving with empathy, with true connections between people.

Can the crows actually take over?

So - just how smart are crows actually? The BBC conducted an experiment and it turns out: Pretty smart. Watch a crow solving a multi-step problem in this video:

I don't know about you but I'm not sure I even understood the problem description correctly.
Okay, I know what you're about to say: That's a highly educated crow trained in solving complicated puzzles. Granted. So let’s see what a non-trained crow can do. Watch it until the end, and don’t skip forward, the tension buildup is well worth the wait:

I could probably do that.

Research. The most important thing nobody does.

Everybody's talking about research. But how many of you actually do research? And how much of that is desk research, in comparison to "field", where you actually go out and talk to someone? I've decided to step up my research game so I'm super excited about the upcoming book by Jan Chipchase, "The Field Study Handbook". You can read more about the project on their kickstarter page. Go, pledge!

Hold on to what you've found: With Maps.

An important part of research is capturing your findings. One way to do that is with maps, being them visualisations of mental models, actual, geographical maps, or something completely abstract. I've always loved maps, in all of their incarnations. One of my favorite things about The Lord of the Rings was the big map of Middle-Earth at the back of all volumes. During the time, I've seen a lot of maps, and heard a lot of ideas about maps. But I've never seen something like these inuit maps. They completely blew me away.

That’s it from this edition of Let’s be Fwends. Thank you for following my meandering thoughts until the very end of this mail. I'd love to high-five you, but I'm not around, so please high-five yourself. And if you think I don't like crows because I've said so many mean words about them: I really really like crows. We even have a name for them. We call them 'Boris'. But I'm pretty sure they don't care that much. 🐦
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