Month: December 2009

  • On Hiring Talent (Not Just Programmers)

    You could hire through open source like GitHub (“we hire ‘The Girl or Guy Who Wrote X,’ where X is an awesome project we all use or admire”) or use a check-list to recognise competency (passion, self-teaching, a love of learning, intelligence, hidden experience and knowledge of a variety of technologies) and no doubt find…

  • Psychological Pricing and Other Shopping Persuasion Techniques

    The endowment effect, sex in advertising and pricing anchors: all bits of ‘shopping psychology’ we’ve heard before. Ryan Sager looks at these shopping persuasion techniques we should be aware of, adding a few small pieces of information that may be novel: Endowment effect: We place a higher value on items we own, and just by…

  • Ways of Reading, Writing, Learning

    A Working Library’s Ways of Reading could be called¬†the nine rules of reading, writing, and learning. My favourite three: Always read with a pen in hand. The pen should be used both to mark the text you want to remember and to write from where the text leaves you. Think of the text as the…

  • The Statistics of A/B Testing

    Whether or not you believe this to be (as Joel Spolsky does) the “best post [‚Ķ] about A/B testing, ever”, it definitely is one of the easiest to understand and one of the few posts on split testing that is statistically sound (i.e. useful). Is [a given A/B test] conclusive? Has [variant] A won? Or…

  • Apple, Disney and Pixar: It’s the Products

    Written in early 2006 shortly after Disney’s acquisition of Pixar in a $7.4 billion all-stock deal, BusinessWeek looks at the relationship between the Disney and Apple CEOs and where their relationship may lead. Prescient in that it accurately predicted the Apple TV and the iPhone, the article also briefly looks at Jobs and his product-first…

  • Barriers, Not Calories, Influence Eating Habits

    Informing consumers of the calorific value of their food options doesn’t change their ordering/eating habits (previously), but removing barriers and making the healthier options easy to order does. That’s the conclusion from Kevin Volpp’s lecture, ‘Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Health Behaviors’. Recent studies [‚Ķ] have indicated that providing nutritional information at restaurants and recommending…

  • The Psychology of Restaurant Menus

    Type, colour, currency symbols and vivid adjectives: all items to pay attention to when designing menus–but not for aesthetic reasons. Subtle changes to menus can influence our restaurant decision-making, as is made obvious by Sarah Kershaw’s excellent article on¬†the psychology of restaurant menus. (If you’ve read the articles in¬†my previous post on this topic there…

  • The Optimal Level of Trust

    How much we trust people influences much more than¬†just¬†our interpersonal relationships and can even cost us a considerable amount of financial harm. The study¬†concluding this (pdf)¬†suggests that too much or too little trust has a financial cost equivalent to that of not attending university and shows that if we trust too much we assume too…

  • Entrepreneurial Success Not Correlated to University Prestige

    An analysis of the educational backgrounds of tech company founders has shown that an elite education ¬†does not provide as much of an advantage as many expect. In fact the results seem to show that where one studies has no correlation to entrepreneurial success, as long as one actually does study. The 628 U.S.-born tech…

  • Business Schools Failing American Manufacturing

    America’s deterioration as a leader in the engineering and manufacturing fields can be attributed largely to the failings of the elite business schools, suggests Noam Scheiber, Rhodes Scholar and senior editor at The New Republic. Business school graduates are now educated toward high paid financial services jobs, leading gradually to an “era of management by…