Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

Speaker: Matt Cutts

Length: 3:27

Summary

Matt Cutts wants you to try something new for 30 days! It is something he has been doing for a while and come to the conclusion that 30 days is the perfect amount of time to add a new habit or remove an old one. Some of the things he has done include writing a novel (NaNoWriMo), biking to work, and not eating any sugar. It has been a life changing experience for him and he says each month has become much more memorable. His advice on creating sustainable habits is to stick to small changes that you are able to continue afterwards (although big ones can be rewarding too).

The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not so why not try something you’ve always wanted to do?

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David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips

Speaker: David Pogue

Length: 5:44

Summary

David Pogue shares “10 things you think everybody knows, but it turns out they dont.”

  1. Tap “space” to scroll down a page and “shift space” to scroll up.
  2. The “tab” key allows to skip between boxes in a form you are filling out.
  3. “Ctrl +” will zoom in on a web page and “ctrl -” will zoom out.
  4. On a smartphone press “space” twice at the end of a sentence and it will enter the period and capitalize the beginning of your next sentence.
  5. To redial someone on a smartphone, press the call button and it will bring up the last number you called.
  6. To skip the voicemail message press:
    • * for Verizon
    • # for AT&T and T-Mobile
    • 1 for Sprint
  7. On Google type “define” and the word you are trying to define to bring up the definition.
  8. Double click to highlight a word instead of clicking and dragging.
  9. On a camera half press the shutter button to prefocus to eliminate shutter lag.
  10. On a powerpoint presentation press “B” to black out and “W” to white out.

Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

Speaker: Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

Length: 9:05

Summary

There is an invisible shift in how information is flowing and Eli Pariser wants us to be aware of it. The web now adapts depending on the specific user. Eli first noticed this automatic filtering in his own Facebook news feed. He is politically progressive and noticed that he was starting to see less and less of the conservative links posted by his Facebook friends. Facebook had worked out that Eli had been clicking more liberal links than conservative links and hid them. This invisible, algorithmic editing is used by nearly all major sources of news and information. Google now uses 57 different signals to determine your search results. Ranging from your geographic location to your age and ethnicity. Yahoo News and Huffington Post have also begun to personalize their information. The information I get is no longer the information you get.

The problem with this, Eli says, is that while the Internet is showing what we want to see – its not necessarily what we need to see. A filter bubble is what he calls it. It’s a bubble of your own unique information, but you can’t see what doesn’t get into it. When the Internet was created it was seen as a release from the control of the people that were controlling and editing what information you saw. However, the reality is that these human gatekeepers have been just replaced with algorithmic ones.

These algorithms have been feeding us a steady diet of relevant information. But what we need is a balanced diet that also include information that is uncomfortable, challenging, and important. Eli wants this to change. He wants algorithms that have encoded in a sense of public life and a sense of civic responsibility. Algorithms that allow us to see what doesn’t get through. This is the key to unlock the full potential of the Internet. The Internet should be something that introduces us to new ideas, new people, and different perspectives.

Rory Sutherland: Life lessons of an Ad Man

Speaker: Rory Sutherland

Length: 19:12

Summary

The talk is focused around the value of intangibles, specifically from the perspective of advertising. He tells us that all value is subjective, BUT an intangible change can be just as satisfying as a physical change. Frederick the Great, of Prussia, wanted more the country to adopt potatoes as their primary crop. But people thought potatoes looked ugly, tasted weird, and farmers had no desire to grow them. Frederick realized the farmers would rather be jailed than forced to grow potatoes. So he took a new approach, and decided to re brand the potato – changing its perceived value. He declared that potatoes were only for the royal grew them in his garden, protected around the clock by his guards. Not long after, people gathered to create an underground potato market.

Rory tells another story about the creation of intangible value that he experienced in his own work. An intern was given a task to create a new advertising campaign for the popular cereal Shreddies. Shreddies are the equivalent of chex mix – square shaped pieces of wheat. Instead of making a change to the product, the company focused on changing how people perceived it. This was the result:

The analogy is clear: We need to learn to appreciate things that already exist before creating new things.

“When you place a value on things like health and love and learn to place a material value on what you’ve previously discounted for being merely intangible … you realize you’re much, much wealthier than you ever imagined.”