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Ben Kunz
Works at Mediassociates. Planner. Bloomberg Businessweek columnist. Likes dogs. Passed the Turing test.
Attended University of Vermont
Lives in Connecticut
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Ben Kunz

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We were promised jet packs. 
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"The irony of our quest for AI is that it may be here already in a form of crowdsourced intelligence, built partly from individual human minds and partly from the technology networked connections that accelerate our group action." 

http://velmotus.com/2014/12/28/when-ai-arrives-we-wont-recognize-it/
  Fourteen years ago in Wired magazine, Sun Microsystems founder Bill Joy wrote a long, brilliant thought-piece titled "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us." Three technologies, Joy suggested -- ro...
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  Would space aliens be artificial intelligence? This is an intriguing question posed by Len Kendall, based on our earlier premise that biology tends to evolve into complexity that eventually ...
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Seriously? I skimmed it.

It's hard to separate skiffy wet dreaming from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Some have way too much time. They are far from mastering earthly life for themselves and yet, they ponder about irrelevant other worldly life.



Bizarro.
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A riff on group dynamics that could save your next meeting
Decisions are difficult in business because hierarchies and org structures, however well thought out, culminate in small groups trying to reach consensus on difficult issues. Funny thing is, the strongest influencer in a meeting is usually not the most senior manager. Often, an unexpected player steers the decision to a biased, wrong-headed conclusion. This is the danger of "propinquity."

Propinquity means "nearness in relationship," and was outlined by management consultant David Hillson in a 2009 paper "How Groups Make Risky Decisions." Hillson suggested that if the risk of an issue being debated by a decision group is very close to one individual, that person will become a vocal force as influential as a top officer.

Don't make it blue!

To see how propinquity works, imagine a group of managers convening to decide which color to paint a new office. Participants include:

- Sally, a senior manager who formerly led a paint department
- Frank, a mid-level manager with expertise in interior color design
- Tom, a junior manager ... who as a child was frequently locked in a small blue room for "time outs"

As the color committee begins to discuss choices, Tom proclaims, "Blue is a horrible choice, it's too babyish. We can't include it." The other participants, swayed by Tom's strong opinion, agree. Blue is off the table.

What happened? Tom -- unbeknownst to others, and perhaps unknown to him -- had high propinquity to the color choice. His passion swayed the group, beyond the opinion of the other members who had more expertise.

Hillson suggests this type of group-member bias is important to recognize, because studies show that participants in decisions with high propinquity skyrocket in influence -- rivaling or surpassing that of individuals with high power. This results sub-optimally in the group decision really being made by one person, who of course does not have access to all the data for the most rational execution.

It's a bad choice, but I saved my bonus

Color choices are a silly example, but propinquity often arises in important business decisions. Imagine holding a team meeting deciding to:

- Develop a new service that could drive new revenue ... but that might reduce the bonus for one manager who works in a competing department.
- Launch a communications campaign that could generate positive PR ... but that conflicts with the power of an internal manager.
- Merge with a new organization that could triple annual profits ... but undercut the power of the current team leaders.

It's not hard to envision someone in each scenario above making strong points to nix the best decision for the organization.

Business history is littered with examples of decisions missed based on individual, or business unit, fears. IBM could have owned Microsoft's early operating system, but dismissed it because its fortunes were tied to mainframe computers. Microsoft could have launched cloud-based apps before Google, but doing so might have cannibalized its PC software division. Kodak could have led the digital camera market, but doing so would have threatened its old film business. Clayton M. Christensen defined this macro-business illogic in his book "The Innovator's Dilemma," in which radical innovation can lead to enormous future profits ... but is often blocked if seen as threatening to existing business groups. Entire businesses can make suboptimal decisions if they have too much propinquity, or nearness, to the risk.

In simple terms, propinquity inflates perceived risk

Boil it down and if a decision has a potential outcome that affects us personally, we often over-emphasize the risk ... and end up not making any decision at all. Propinquity creates a type of "risk inflation," where the peril may not be large to the overall organization, but challenges our current reward structure.

The solution is to self-regulate, to step beyond the shell of our personal rewards or fears to really evaluate how the decision may benefit or harm the organization as a whole. A good test is to ask two simple questions: If we do ____, where will our organization be one year from now? Is that a better place? And if it is, then leave your propinquity by the door.
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V ery smart
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Amazing how robot designs are leaving behind our biologically evolved forms. This flying/rolling robot works better than arms, legs or wings.
 
HyTAQ Robot (Hybrid Terrestrial and Aerial Quadrotor)
 

Not bad
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What is the real far-future of media?

Here are our predictions: (1) Environment monitoring, driven by sensors around us; (2) virtual visual overlays that are constantly on, created by the inevitable shrinking of screens until they fit in your contacts; (3) ambient personalization, as you control what you see everywhere; and (4) societal upheaval as we relearn how to interact with other humans in a virtual world.

- See more at: http://www.thoughtgadgets.com/media-predictions-for-the-far-forward-future/#sthash.oUeLILRQ.dpuf
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What will the new Apple iWatch look like? I predict 6 things in Digiday. Look for the Apple product announcement next Tuesday, Sept. 9.

http://digiday.com/brands/iwatch-predictions/
Here are our predictions for what the new iWatch will (or at least should) come equipped with.
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It strikes me that anticipating someone's needs is not only nearly impossible, but it has little utility in commerce. Here's the story why.

http://www.thoughtgadgets.com/why-netflix-walked-away-from-personalization/
In 2006 Netflix offered a $1 million prize for anyone who could improve its movie preference recommendations by 10%. Netflix, at the time, made most of its money sending DVDs in the mail to users' homes (Internet streaming had yet to take off), and personalization offered two major advantages as ...
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Nice post. Remind me of the quote attributed to Henry Ford (but not, actually, said by him): “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
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Chevron's use of global warming for bold branding
Mention climate change and you get hot responses from some conservatives who believe the risk is falsified, earth's temperatures are not rising, satellite data is fudged and human-made CO2 and methane don't absorb heat from the sun. Some liberals leap far the other way, accusing energy giants such as ExxonMobil of disinformation campaigns bent on disguising facts about global warming.

Chevron has its own strategy: cut through the denial and talk straight about the issue.

Punch "global warming" into Google and the third sponsored ad you'll see is from Chevron, inviting you to a webpage describing how it is concerned about global warming and working to build cleaner energy solutions. On its landing page, Chevron pulls no punches:

"At Chevron, we recognize and share the concerns of governments and the public about climate change. The use of fossil fuels to meet the world's energy needs is a contributor to an increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs)—mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane—in the Earth's atmosphere. There is a widespread view that this increase is leading to climate change, with adverse effects on the environment."

This is a bold statement from an energy giant with a $209 billion market cap. Why is Chevron pushing such statements to the world? Well, first it could be a lure to investors -- if half the population does believe that scientists can count and earth's temperatures are rising, those investors are more likely to place funds in a company they believe may do something about it. Chevron could also see that energy will change, and be positioning itself for leadership in emerging markets for wind, solar, thermal, fracking, cleaner coal, carbon recapture, or other new technologies that might someday give oil a run for its money. (Chevron has run such brave ads as "It's Time Oil Companies Get Behind the Development of Renewable Energy.")

And of course running ads inside Google searches for "global warming" means you'll only be talking to people hunting for the issue, in essence partitioning off environmentalists with their own communication stream. But I don't think that's it. Chevron's main tagline is now "The Power of Human Energy: Finding Newer, Cleaner Ways to Power the World." ExxonMobil by comparison says "Taking On the World's Toughest Energy Challenges." Chevron is becoming the 7Up to ExxonMobil's big cola. It's a crisp, clean, different alternative. It's focused on the multi-billion-dollar emerging renewable energy market. At least for branding, that's a warm story.
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Nice find +Ben Kunz 
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I visited Sandy Hook today, and this little girl made me feel better.
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In his circles
969 people
Have him in circles
4,225 people
Randy Khoo's profile photo
Scott Brunjes's profile photo
Sandra Camacho's profile photo
Ruth Hoskins's profile photo
Rasmus Kølln's profile photo
Tim Lute's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Making advertising work.
Employment
  • Mediassociates. Planner. Bloomberg Businessweek columnist. Likes dogs. Passed the Turing test.
    present
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Connecticut
Previously
Vermont
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Home
Phone
203 506 7269
Story
Tagline
Ad guy, father, chin-upper. You found me.
Introduction
Ben is vice president of strategic planning at Mediassociates, an advertising strategy / media planning shop. He also writes columns on advertising technology for Bloomberg Businessweek, Digiday and the blog www.thoughtgadgets.com. Adweek named Ben one of the most interesting people on Twitter, which is hard to believe given how boring this bio is. Ben has been quoted in Advertising Age, Adweek, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Atlantic, All Things D, MSNBC, and Bob Garfield's book on the future of advertising, "The Chaos Scenario." He is a former consultant for Peppers & Rogers Group, a CRM management consulting firm.

Reach him at benk@mediassociates.com, @benkunz, or 203 506 7269.
Bragging rights
I once wrote a marketing plan for a chocolate factory. It was good.
Education
  • University of Vermont
    English & Economics
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Ben Kunz's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Incredible restaurant, moderately priced. Juicy steaks. The cranberry chicken is a local favorite. Nice atmosphere. I planned a surprise party for my wife recently and the staff helped pull it off cleverly. Great time.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
This is a superb bike shop, especially if you need real advice on equipment. The owner (a woman whose name escapes me, former racer) spent hours with my wife and I, first helping my wife get her bike fitted and then giving us tons of advice on tires and equipment. We're in our fourth year of cycling and still learning, and her knowledge was welcome. There was no sales pressure -- although we ended up spending a lot, and like most high-end stores, the goods are not cheap. Highly recommend it. We drive an hour to go here vs. other stores closer to our home.
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Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
2 reviews
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