Jeff Stibel, author of Breakpoint, talks with MoneyBeat host Paul Vigna about Facebook’s future, and why constant growth is not only unsustainable, but also counterproductive to longevity.
Would it surprise you to learn that our brains have been shrinking for the last 20,000 years? It’s true. In a major reversal from the two million years before that, our brains have actually been growing smaller. We’ve lost about a baseball sized amount of matter in a brain that’s not any bigger than a football. One reason for that is our bodies are smaller as well (except for maybe Shaq), but that only accounts for a small amount of the loss.
I’ve known for a while now that my process for selecting new employees is a little unorthodox, and I let candidates know this right away. I usually start speaking before the door is even closed, so many people in the office have heard me say the same line again and again: “This isn’t an interview.”
But it’s not just a line; it’s genuine. I don’t believe that the standard interview question and answer session works. The reason is that as soon as you ask a question, you’re putting the candidate in a box. You condition people by the very nature of the question. This is a well-known psychological phenomenon. For example, if you ask “how much will you contribute to your 401(k),” the answer will be different than if you ask “how little will you contribute to your 401(k).” In the context of an interview, this phenomenon is even more pronounced: anytime you ask a question, you can bet that it’s leading. Good interviewers are best suited for television or radio, where simply by their questions they shape the story that’s being told. Good interviewers are not suited to choosing good employees.
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Lane Wood was about to turn 30, and he was in a full-on identity crisis. He had recently left charity: water where he worked directly with the founder, Scott Harrison, and A-list celebrities to bring clean drinking water across the planet.
It had been an amazing, life-changing experience; especially for a former pastor from rural Oklahoma.
However, on a winter night in 2011 at a Union Square cafe in New York City, he confided in a close friend and nervously wondered, “What happens when my email doesn’t end in charitywater.org? Have I built real relationships or have I just increased my social media follower number?”
Which relationships do we deepen, and which ones do we let fizzle or never form?
For Jeff Stibel, a 40-year-old brain scientist, the Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., and the author of Breakpoint, the answer lies in other types of networks that share similar properties.
In Jeff’s words, “The goods news is that we can look to biology and biological networks such as ants, bees, and even termites to tell us what happens in networks as a whole. We can see that there are very consistent, predictable cycles. Those cycles drive not just biological networks but business networks, economic networks, and social networks.”
Recently, two Princeton graduate students released a study predicting the demise of Facebook by 2017, using concepts from epidemiology. No quicker had the media reported the results of the study than numerous rebuttals were posted. A few Facebook data scientists had great fun by posting their analyses showing that Princeton University would run out of students by 2021 and that the Earth would run out of air by 2060.
Read the whole article where is originally appeared.
Last week, Twitter’s stock took a big tumble after it released its first quarterly earnings report. The report showed that revenue is up (and better than expected), but user growth is slowing and engagement is down. Declining user growth is not an issue in itself, and actually can be a great thing for a network (in fact, I wrote a whole book on this topic). Lack of engagement, on the other hand, is something different.
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Last month, Google bought Nest Labs, a company that makes smart home thermostats and smoke detectors. While a few applauded the acquisition (mostly geeks and tech investors), much of the reporting centered on privacy fears and predictions of doomsday advertising scenarios. It’s just the latest story exploiting our collective fear of the growing “internet of things” and distrust of the companies who leverage it.
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We tend to hear quite a bit about credit card fraud and stolen identities. The issue was again brought to the nation’s attention at the end of last year, when hackers sent a virus which infected the point-of-sale terminals at Target, capturing credit and debit card numbers and corresponding PIN data. The hackers also broke into the retail giant’s databases to steal customer information including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Officials currently estimate that 40 million credit and debit cards as well as the personal information from 70 million additional customers were compromised, making it the largest such hack in history.
Read the whole article where it originally appeared.
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Breakpoint author Jeff Stibel speaks with Rick Van Cise of KOMO radio about the how the world’s largest social network, Facebook, can take proactive measures to reach equilibrium after its breakpoint instead of following the likes of Friendster and Myspace into obscurity.
Furthermore, he notes that though the internet is not going anywhere, how we access and use it will. Our relationship with the internet has already begun to change, thanks largely to the popularity of apps, and will only continue to as technology progresses.
For reference, How Facebook Can Avoid a Slow, Painful Death is the Wired article mentioned during the interview.