Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Malcolm Gladwell - 60 Minutes - David and Goliath - Introvert. Ivy League Schools are Overrated. Google.

A colleague told me about this 60 Minutes piece I missed when he was promoting his book David and Goliath.

Here is the preview.

Watch the entire segment at CBS here. You learn:

He is an introvert. 

This is necessary for new ideas and perspectives to come forth. Deep thought and introspection is needed to fix disparate pieces together. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking highlights beautifully the important role introverts play in a world which increasingly lauds those who are extroverts...

Our information is still siloed. 

Even with a powerful search engine like Google some of most interesting research and information is found, (gasp!), at a library. As increasingly more people find the ease of finding information via the internet, might there be value in other ways of research?

Thinking radically different can result in success, but it isn't easy to rock the status quo, unless you are an outsider. 

Note Gladwell's upbringing as well as "outsider" status of Vivek Ranadive as he coached his daughter's basketball team having zero experience in the sport. Gladwell's New Yorker piece "How David Beats Goliath - When Underdogs Break the Rules" became the basis of his book.

He is intensely curious.

As noted in the CBS piece, should we trust "received wisdom"? Do we simply take for granted what was told to us? Fortunately, Gladwell does not. More importantly, does the in depth research and thinking needed to validate or refute conventional wisdom. Going back to the original research and first source material is something highlighted by Jim Collins in his book - Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. Collins highlights this example with the race to the South Pole - the successful team challenged the conventional wisdom and not only was first but survived. The other team died.

"There’s this wonderful point when [Norwegian explorer Roald] Amundsen makes what strikes others as a rash decision. That decision was to land at the Bay of Whales. Now everybody thought the Bay of Whales was moving ice, and therefore, very dangerous. But Amundsen had gone back and read all the actual journal entries of the explorers who had been to that part of the world, dating back to, I believe, 1841. In those journal entries, he noticed that there was this fixed, dome-like structure at the Bay of Whales, and it had been there since 1841. Conclusion? It is not moving. It has been there since 1841. Because he had this orientation to putting his hands deep in evidence himself and reading all the journal entries himself, he has this empirical observation: “That is not moving ice. We can confidently put our base there,” which gave them a head start. He put their base at the Bay of Whales rather than at the standard place, which would be McMurdo Sound."

He writes on Mac

At least at home. At a previous talk, he spoke about how he doesn't use a Mac. Companies promoted their products to Baby Boomers by accentuating how different products provided "status" and showed that they were an individual. You didn't have what everyone else had. Now every one has a Mac except Baby Boomer Malcolm.... Perhaps he has changed that point of view? More likely? His computer broke down and needed a new one...

Ivy League Schools are Overrated.

The CBS segment highlighted a talk Gladwell gave at Google. It is worth watching.