Escaping The Zombie Data Apocalypse: It’s Alive! by Anthony Tasgal #CASRO #MRX

Live blogging from the #CASRO tech conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Escaping The Zombie Data Apocalypse: It’s Alive! by Anthony Tasgal, Behavioral Economist & Storyteller, POV

  • can you push the envelope out of the box
  • you need to have a point of view whether you are a brand or person
  • what is the zombie data apocalypse
  • science does not mean more data
  • data is nothing without theory
  • before we demand more of data, we need to demand more of ourselves
  • we live in the attention economy, everyone is staring at you and a phone or a tablet or something else
  • we believe in safety in numbers – as long as there’s a number, it sounds more important
  • there is more to life than algorithms, we need to humanize people – but they’re already human? where have you been?
  • big data means we don’t need theory anymore? what the heck does this mean? you can’t apply data to human behaviour without theory
  • we are data rich, insight poor
  • clients are paying us for our intelligence
  • we are obsessed with metrics, we can’t stem the flow but it’s cramping our ability to think originally
  • do we need 300 charts? an insight can be a line or a word or a thought. we don’t need to see all the data in the main report
  • “Algorithm appointed board director” – this was news for Deep Knowledge company
  • Zombie data – data that is dead, cold, inert, of no use
  • Meaning – human beings trade in meaningfulness
  • Big data is in between – it’s not dead, it’s not alive. data that is theory free is zombie data.
  • the promised land is behavioural economics, insightment [process for understanding and thinking about insight], and storytelling
  • William James is the father of psychology, Henry James, the author, is the uncle of psychology.
  • Telling people doesn’t work. Emotion and impression management do.
  • If you make people lean forward or push, they will give better answers in a test. if you give them glasses, they will do better.
  • the industry suppresses this truth because the industry wants to believe people are predictable
  • people looking up and saying easy are unconsciously smiling and feeling happier. looking down and saying words that bring facial muscles down (you’ll) make you less happy.
  • how about placing a severed arm from a movie in an area where the demographics would want to see that movie. this is cheap. cheaper than billboards everywhere.
  • tell someone to NOT think of a polar bear. and they will. it’s hard to suppress something you’re told to suppress. what does that mean for politics, for juries!

  • the ad increased sales by 10%
  • people thought the diamond shape tasted better
  • and they launched a special promotional package that mixed diamond and square shreddies in the same package
  • data must be aligned to theory and human communication
  • data is useless without context – a severed arm in the street? sure, if it’s for a horror movie
  • human beings devour meaning, humans aren’t assets or design points, they desire meaning
  • information is to be collected and insight is to be connected, insight jumps out of nowhere, data doesn’t always allow that to happen
  • information does not create ideas, ideas come first because they produce information
  • stories translate information into emotion
  • storytelling has status – JK Rowling, Comedians
  • story – creates self, establishes identify, builds trust and empathy, is playful, is gossip worthy, its our universal and natural language
  • our species was not designed to work with excel or powerpoint but rather stories
  • our brains are designed to find meaning as in these pictures


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