The Problem With The Color Blue | Co.Design #business #branding

Blue may seem like a safe bet for a brand’s identity. The data suggests otherwise…There is plenty of psychological research on reactions to blue and other colors, but to evaluate the strategy of choosing blue for a brand, we wanted to measure how blue actually performs, to examine how it measures up against other colors in competitive environments. After all, brands have to compete—they have to work against the idea of sameness and command a premium. So we looked at the comparative performance of blue and other colors in several real-life contexts

READ MORE: The Problem With The Color Blue | Co.Design | business + design

And The Winner Of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014 Is… Vurb | TechCrunch

And The Winner Of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014 Is… Vurb | TechCrunch

Vurb is a web and mobile contextual search engine. When you type a query in Vurb, you get everything you need without having to leave the search engine. The company is rolling out search for Places, Movies, and Media. It will soon launch search for add People, Startups, and others. For example, if you search for a film, you get a trailer, showtimes, reviews, a link to watch the movie on Netflix, the IMDb score and more.

Read More: And The Winner Of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014 Is… Vurb | TechCrunch.

See also: Vurb’s Contextual Search Engine Blows Away Those Stupid Lists Of Links | TechCrunch


This Grad Student Hacked Semantic Search To Be Better Than Google | Co.Labs

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Google may be the dominant search engine, but it’s far from ideal. One major problem: How do you search for things you don’t know exist?

Using Google’s own experimental algorithms, a graduate student may have build a solution: a search engine that allows you to add and subtract search terms for far more intuitive results.

The new search engine, ThisPlusThat.Me, similarly looks for context clues among the terms. For instance: Entering the arithmetic search “Paris – France + Italy” gives the top result as “Rome,” but if I search the same thing in Google, I’ll get directions between Paris and Italy, restaurants in France and Italy, and a depressing Yahoo Answers of whether Italy is in Paris (or vice versa). “Rome,” on the other hand, is an association you, a human, would make (I wantThis, without That but including Those)–and the engine makes that decision based on each answer’s semantic value compared to your search.

Until now, search has been stuck in a paradigm of literal matching, unable to break into conceptual associations and guessing what you mean when you search. There’s a reason Amazon and Netflix have scored points for their item suggestions: They’re thinking how you think.

The engine, created by Astrophysics PhD candidate Christopher Moody, uses Google’s own open-source word2vec algorithm research to take the terms you searched for and ranks the query results by relevance, just like a normal search–except the rankings are based on “vector distances” that have a lot more human sense. So in the above example, other results could have been, say, Napoleon or wine–both have ties with the above search terms, but within the context of City – Country + Other Country, Rome is the vector that has the closest “distance.”

All the word2vec algorithm needs is an appropriate corpus of data to build its word relations on: Moody used Wikipedia’s corpus as a vocabulary and relational base–an obvious advantage in size, but it also had the added benefit of “canonicalizing” terms (is it Paris the city, or Paris from the Trojan War? In Wikipedia, the first is “Paris” and the second “Paris_(mythology).” But millions of search-and-replaces in Wiki’s 42 GB of text was intensive, so Moody used Hadoop’s Map functions to fan those search-and-replaces to several nodes.

A search query then spits out an 8 GB table of vectors with varying distances; Moody tried out a few data search systems before settling on Google’s Numexpr to find the term with the closest vector distance.

via This Grad Student Hacked Semantic Search To Be Better Than Google | Co.Labs | code + community.

Is It OK to Yell at Your Employees? | Michael Schrage | HBR

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Steve JobsJeff Bezos. Martha Stewart. Bill Gates. Larry Ellison. Jack Welch. Successful. Visionary. Competitive. Demanding. And each with a well-deserved reputation for raising their voices. They yelled. Yelling was an integral part of their leadership and management styles.

Is that bad? Is that a flaw?

Harvard Business School recently published and popularized a case study of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s recently retired manager and the most successful coach in English Premier League history. Ferguson was a fantastic leader and motivator. But Sir Alex was particularly famous for his “hair dryer treatment”: When he was angry with his players, he shouted at them with such force and intensity it was like having a hair dryer switched on in their faces.

Does that make Sir Alex’s leadership less worthy of study and emulation?

Of course, that’s sports. Elite coaches worldwide are notorious for yelling at their talented athletes. Vince Lombardi, Mike Ditka, Bela Karolyi, Pat Summitt, and Jose Mourinho were comparably effective at raising their voices to command attention and results. They inspired great performances and even greater loyalty.

High-decibel intensity is similarly found in special forces training and commands in the military. Yelling is intrinsic to elite military unit culture. It’s expected, not rejected. But perhaps the inherent physicality and emotional stresses of those fields make yelling more acceptable than in more creative and aesthetic endeavors.

But wait: Even the seemingly genteel world of classical music evokes clashes other than cymbals. The world’s best and most highly regarded conductors are frequently famous for raising their voices even higher than their batons. Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan, and even Daniel Barenboim had reputations for making sure their sharper words were heard above the flatter music. For world-class symphony orchestras, world-class conductors’ critiques are seldom sotto voce.

There’s surely never been a shortage of movie and theater directors who emphatically raise their voices to raise the level of performance of their actors and crew. Neither Stanley Kubrick nor Howard Hawks, for example, were mutes.

What’s true for the collaborative arts holds true for the collaborative sciences, as well. Nobelist Ernest Rutherford was a force of nature who rarely hesitated to firmly and loudly make his questions and concerns known during his astonishingly successful tenure running Cambridge’s Cavendish Lab. His Cavendish was arguably the most important experimental physics lab in the world.

To be sure, yelling doesn’t make someone a better leader or manager. But the notion that raising one’s voice represents managerial weakness or a failure of leadership seems to be prima facie nonsense. The empirical fact pattern suggests that in a variety of creative and intensely competitive talent-rich disciplines around the world, the most successful leaders actually have yelling as both a core competence and brand attribute. These leaders apparently benefit from the acoustic intensity of their authenticity and the authenticity of their intensity.

But is that a good thing? Or a necessary evil?

Stanford Professor Bob Sutton, who authored the managerial cult classic The No Asshole Rule is not quick to condemn leaders and managers who raise their voices with intent.

“To me it is all about context and culture,” he told me via email, “and the history of the relationship. So in some settings, yelling is accepted and is not viewed as a personal insult, but an expected part of leadership. The National Football League is an example… I once tried to teach the ‘no asshole rule’ to a group of folks from NFL teams, and in that context, many of the behaviors that might be shocking in a school, company, or hospital were normal. Much of it comes down to intent and impact, so does it leave the person feeling demeaned and de-energized? Or is it taken as acceptable and expected, and even as a sign of caring?”

Exactly. Would you pay more — and better — attention if you were being yelled at by someone who cares as much about the quality of your work as you do? Or would you find it demotivating? Conversely, if — or when — you raise your voice to a colleague, a boss, or a subordinate, do they hear someone whose passion matters more than their volume?

When I look at the organizations that seem to have the greatest energy and drive, the conversations aren’t whispered and the disagreements aren’t polite. Raised voices mean raised expectations. The volumes reflect intensity, not intimidation.

In other words, yelling isn’t necessarily a bug; it can be a feature — a poignant one.

Sutton concluded his email as follows: “Remember the late and great J. Richard Hackman from Harvard? He yelled at me now and then — I mean yelled, swearing, calling me an idiot — when I was about to make some bad career choices. I appreciated it at the time and have loved him more for it over the years. I knew he was doing because he cared and wanted to make sure I got the message. I wish he were here to yell at me right now.”

If you’re yelling because humiliating and demeaning people is part of who you are, you’ve got bigger professional issues than your decibel level. Your organization needs a quiet conversation about whether your people should work a little louder. But if raising your voice because you care is part of who you are as a person and communicator, your employees should have the courtesy and professionalism to respect that.

Is It OK to Yell at Your Employees? | Michael Schrage | Harvard Business Review