Sunday, June 01, 2003

selection effects

I thought at first that I would use this weblog to talk about ideas. I have ideas all the time and they come quickly, evolve rapidly and often though not always become something fully formed.

Sometimes, as when i want to pursue something further or drag it out over several days, I'll write a note to myself. But this note is incomprehensible to anyone but me. More often though it will just remain a note in my head.

I rely almost entirely on my memory for appointments and meetings, for addresses and phone numbers. So, it is the same with ideas. But the problem is worse because ideas, unlike phone numbers, can also mutate rapidly, join with other thoughts in my head. So soon after I write something down it becomes stale and no longer relevant.

I do enjoy reading other idea weblogs. It seems that other authors are able to overcome this problem I mention above and present their ideas in small digests. The key, like many things we discover in life, is a selection effect at work. Let me explain.

Many people think they can meet other people at bars or parties. What we all know however is that bars and parties are great for meeting the type of people who like to go to bars or parties. The introverts who would rather spend an evening with their books are much more difficult to find and thus, at least for me, much more precious.

In any case, a similar selection effect is at work in the weblog world. It favors ideas that can be presented in its format - small digests, cluttered with links. Or long asynchronous conversations.

My best ideas have been "whiteboard" ideas often presented in a small social setting. That is just how I work. I can think fast and develop something new for you while you watch. Then I can retreat, let some more ideas infect the original, and soon after, present something to you that is original and new.

By the time I finish writing a post, even a short one like this one, I have already revised it in my head many times.

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