The theme of yesterday's post about Scott Hanselman's presentation at WebStock '12 ("The iPhone has completely changed the way that I poop."
) is knowing what to ignore
Since posting that blog article, I've been pleasantly bombarded by reminders of the importance of that theme by people I respect.
Maybe this is an idea whose time has come for me. Maybe for you, too.
I forwarded the link to good friend and colleague Steve Levinson. Steve is a clinical psychologist who developed and directed an innovative rural mental health program that flourished under his leadership for thirty-five years. In his spare time, he co-authored a groundbreaking self-help book, Following Through: A Revolutionary New Model For Finishing Whatever You Start
, and invented a device — The MotivAider
— that helps people stay focused on their intentions so they have a better chance of following through on them.
I figured Steve would appreciate Hanselman's presentation. In his trademark self-effacing style, he wrote back to me, sharing this anecdote:
I was once mistaken as "a most highly respected and effective healthcare administrator" by a research firm that was studying the keys to effective management. When they asked me what particular skill I most attributed my management success to, I answered without even thinking: "Knowing what to ignore." The more I thought about my answer, the more I liked it.
Then I came across Seth Godin's May 22, 2012 blog entry, Ranking for signal to noise ratio
. Godin echoes some of Hanselman's remarks from the WebStock '12 presentation. Money quote:
Signal to noise ratio is a measurement of the relationship between the stuff you want to hear and the stuff you don't. And here's the thing: Twitter and email and Facebook all have a bad ratio, and it's getting worse. [...]And you really can't do much to fix these media and still use them the way you're used to using them.
Here's hoping my recycling of these ideas is more signal than noise.