The Link Between Emotion and Outcome

When something affects us, it has an effect on our decisions. A poor experience reinforces what we value based on the gap between what we expected and what happened. We carry the emotion associated with an issue forward into our next decision. The link between emotion and outcome … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Scientific Method Explained

“If everyone's trying to trick everyone all the time, it's a lot of noise and confusion. It's better just to be straightforward and try to do useful things." [Elon Musk] In an interview for Rolling Stone by Neil Strauss#, Elon Musk explains the scientific method, a phrase he uses … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Merry Christmas

With the commercial side of the holidays in full swing, it's good to pause and reflect. Our culture is saturated with incentives for buying things, even as many of us realize that experiences make more sense. An abundance of psychology research has shown that money spent on doing … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

How the World Works, How we Work

Quantum physics is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller microscopic levels. Matter is any substance that has mass and occupies space. All physical objects are composed of matter in the form of atoms, which in turn have … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

On Preference Falsification: Private Truths and Public Lies

“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” [Thomas Paine] First it was social media and now it's technology that is supposed make the trust leap possible through transparency. Social networks and search engines unrolled a welcome mat to the age of expressing ideas freely, and be … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Nine Strategies to Awaken Intrinsic Motivation (+ Dan Pink's Reading List)

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” [The Walt Disney Company] Life exposes us to all kinds of opportunities, options, and pressures. To sustain success we need a method that helps us filter through all possibilities and seize on those that allow us to giv … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Why we Need to Embrace our Curiosity about the Future

Technology and humanism was the topic of my Ignite Austin presentation in 2011. My goal was to redefine the question of a vision for the future of tech. To me, the opportunity is for women AND men to co-create as connected minds on issues like sustainability, literacy, health and … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

How Culture and Technology Drive our Future

The future of emotional intelligence is the ability of organizations to sift through all the data they accumulate on people, and parse the bits of information that help them improve business decisions that also help their customers. Emotion contains a treasure trove of intelligen … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

How our Brain Gets at Truth and the Role of Ambiguity in Giving us a Free Pass

Much of our modern dialogue about business and many other topics today is based on the dichotomy between science and advocacy. We say evidence, consistency, and proof are important to us, but we also have strongly held beliefs the truth of which ironically prove hard to explore o … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Getting Past "No"

“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” [Daniele Vare, Italian diplomat] We may not realize it, but to make decisions in our personal and professional lives we often use negotiation techniques. In many of our important decisions — those that have the greates … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Using Conversation to Build Relationships, and the Difference Between Conversation and Communication

“The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.” [William Hazlitt] The holidays are always a time charged with emotion. Year-end projects we need to wrap up, the desire and need for a break, and time with the family all contribute to a perfect mix in pot … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

A Reading List for the Holidays

Every week I share what I'm reading in Learning Habit. Subscribing to the free letter is also the only way to receive new articles on Conversation Agent and updates on what I'm working on (coming soon) by email. The only way to receive the email is by subscribing and opting in us … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Designing a Culture to Dissolve Problems

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” [Edward Abbey] We're immersed in a culture of more where the loudest conversation on growth is to acquire, accumulate, buy, consume in larger quantities, and get bigger rather than get better — we seem to think t … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Creativity in Business

“Is it a yes, or is it a no? [Michael Ray] When we're stumped or stuck into over-analyzing something, this is what we should ask ourselves, according to Michael Ray, who has taught a Stanford course on Personal Creativity in Business for more than a quarter century. That simple t … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

What Cognitive Computing can Teach us About How we Learn

The need for a more evidence-based approach to complex decisions has catapulted computing beyond the rigid logic tree, which breaks under the strains of high volumes of information. We're now squarely in the world of cognitive computing, heralded by IBM's Watson. We need the powe … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Out Beyond Ideas of "Either" and "Or" there is a Middle Ground on Artificial Intelligence. We Should Meet There

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.” [13th Century Sufi poet] When we were talking about uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ten years ago in mainstream conversations we didn't know as much as we do today. But that didn't mean w … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

We Learn by Experimenting at Any Age

Our brains are amazing systems whose inner workings we're only beginning to understand. But the fact that we don't have a flowchart that details exactly how our brain works doesn't prevent us from using it effectively — when we focus on outcomes. The brain is a marvel of engineer … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Using the Knowledge we Already Have

“Some of the most crucial steps in mental growth are based not simply on acquiring new skills, but on acquiring new administrative ways to use what one already knows.” [Papert's Principle] Marvin Minsky was the co-founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project (later the Arti … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Great Strategists Practice Thinking

[image from the 1968 movie Odyssey, when Ulysses asks his companions to tie him to the mast as they navigate by the area where the sirens beckoned. Circe the sorceress had predicted he would give in. Scene shot in Monte Argentario, Cala della Cacciarella] + It's not enough to do, … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Difference Between Strategy and Operational Effectiveness

“When people are used to think about something in a particular way, they have great difficulty in thinking about it in new ways.” [Karl Duncker] The problem compounds when the source of our thinking is confusion. Clarity of thought creates advantage in action. But the two, which … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Don't Just Do Something, Stand There

Doing has replaced thinking in our culture — it's all about acting, getting stuff done, hustle. Scratch under the brittle veneer surface and what we have is many busy bodies, maybe the same claiming busyness as an excuse for not being available. Yet when we study the lives of ver … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

How Netonomics Will Replace Destructive Economy of Scale

"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." [Winston Churchill] When we don't learn from history, we're bound to repeat it. Giambattista Vico was an Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian and jurist of the Age of Enlightenment. He was a precur … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Consequences of Limited Rationality, Social Preferences, and Lack of Self-Control

“I never could bear the idea of anyone's expecting something from me. It always made me want to do just the opposite.” [Jean-Paul Sartre] We'd like to think we're enlightened rational actors, that we make choices based on our individual and unique circumstances, and that we're mo … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Antidote to Fear is Trust

“What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.” [Epictectus] Fear is one of the biggest barriers to becoming fully engaged with work … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Seduced by Social, Rescued by Love

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” [Rumi] We can all benefit from a more open and honest mode of communication with each other, of knowing that it's okay to ask and to speak openly about what we feel ― that, too is the prod … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

11 Random Facts About Conversation Agent on its 11th Anniversary

In 2006, I published the first article. Conversation Agent celebrated 11 years this month. I was inspired by an article on Recode about Google's Anniversary for the random facts bit. Before we form thoughts and insights, facts are coming at us randomly... I'm not releasing anythi … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Learning by Thinking

We understand a topic well when we can explain it to someone else who's not familiar with it and cannot provide feedback and give us additional insights. Because we're forced to make sense of it for it to make sense to them. But we don't need to have someone else to talk with to … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

What we can Learn from the Reality we Create

People are quicker to adapt to the use of technology than business. This trend has been fairly steady for a number of years. Research by Deloitte Center for the Edge in 2011 found that it's connected individuals, not companies, that are harnessing flows and have more power becaus … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Single Most Important Thing we Must Do

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” [attributed to Albert Einstein] It's the most attractive value proposition ― making things simple. Simplicity takes more work. Simple is not the same as easy. But it's worth it, because people will remember it. T … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

What we can Learn from the Lives of Others

In 1308, a poet set out to write an ambitious work ― composing in a style never used before for such a project, and using a language that until then was confined to colloquial exchanges. The Comedia took twelve years to complete, taking its author, Dante Alighieri, from his middl … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Networking as a Practice

How we see others is a reflection of what and how we think, our personal culture, and the influence of our environment and social interactions on us, the culture where we live and work. Culture is dynamic and determines what and how we acquire and maintain as knowledge, belief, a … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

People Don't Converse, They Comment. Big Difference

We have a conversation problem. Social networks have exacerbated it, and the wrong habits keep getting reinforced. People think they are conversing. Instead, they are commenting — big difference. Here's why conversation and comments are not the same thing. By definition By defini … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Seven Deadly Diseases of Management

“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” [Antoine de Saint-Exupéry] Commerce is the result of a number of interconnected and interdependen … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Three Kinds of Feedback and our Triggers

Every time we engage in a transaction or renew a membership, we're asked for feedback. We receive feedback after events and meetings we organize with clients and colleagues. The problem with feedback is that we rarely know how to give it well, and seldom learn how to take it. May … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Five Sure Ways To Ruin a Conversation

“The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it.” [Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton] Martin Luther King, Jr. did not start his speech with a PowerPoint filled with bullet points and statistics. He started with, “I have a dream,” then … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

What Happened Ten Years Ago.... is Still Happening Today

“We like lists because we don't want to die.” [Umberto Eco] It all started quite innocently in August 2007 with the idea of publishing a list of top women in PR we knew about in our circles to help spread the word. This site was barely a year old, and it was a place to put ideas … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

A Midsummer Reading List

[image library Delfini, Modena*] We can find more reading lists than time to read. And many of those lists include the same books. Unlike my experience growing up — among the 5,000 books in my house were so many books I hardly ever hear talked about, timeless classics across doma … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Compound Effects in Influence

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have more influence on how things turn out despite them often having no formal power? Maybe we're getting many things right, hitting all the high notes on personal, social, and structural motivation and ability, and yet we may not be … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Energizing Commerce, Literally

Matthew Crawford is a motorcycle mechanic with a Ph.D. in philosophy. In Shop Class as Soulcraft he explains why he quit a job at a think tank to run a repair show. He owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia. Working with our ha … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Mapping Innovation with Greg Satell

“The future is already here ― it's just not very evenly distributed yet.” [William Gibson] This is one of my favorite quotes, because I've found it to be so true. It's true in highly regulated industries, it's true in companies that are still reaping the benefits of what used to … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Five Characteristics of a Critical Thinker

A journalist taught me about critical thinking in writing and editing. The importance of vetting and uncovering more than one side to a story. This is where critical thinking comes in. We think critically when we're able to determine the meaning and significance of what we observ … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

The Effects of Groupthink

Research psychologist Irvin Janis wrote about the effects groupthink in decision-making, making important contributions to the study of group dynamics. Notable among his books are Victims of Groupthink published in 1972. He defined groupthink as: the mode of thinking that persons … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Thriving at Work: It's Not About Working Harder or Even Smarter

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Economics as if People Mattered

I used to write more about social media based on my experience building a social network between 1999-2007, and serving as community manager. Through that work I observed and validated that commitment and driving cultural conversation were the foundations for a powerful value pro … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Debunking Detox and Diets, Designing Wellness

An article in The Guardian talking about the Angry Chef on a mission to confront the ‘alternative facts’ surrounding nutritional fads and myths delves into the truth about healthy eating. The Chef says,“A lot of the clean-eating people, I just think they have a broken relationshi … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Long-Term for Results: Fads vs Trends

Many of our decisions are based on the short term — our horizons have gotten very small, our tools indulge the need to constantly know where we are towards our immediate goals, never mind that we may be missing the big picture. Entire businesses exist and thrive because they indu … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

Our Time is Limited

We view time linearly, as a sequence, and we are often so wrapped into anticipating what's next and what others are doing that we overlook what is now, what is with us. [image courtesy] | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago

On the Origin of Memes

We call an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person online an Internet meme. Many have been circulating in social networks over the last several years, chances are you've seen at least two. Because clever marketers ha … | Continue reading


@conversationagent.com | 6 years ago