Week 50: Unpersonalisation, Hygge, human understanding and what is eating our attention

Weekly web missives from the Friday strategy team. A selection of this week's encounters with design, business, trends and culture. 


Content, news & publishing

Netflix has begun to personalise not only categories and recommendations, but also the artwork displayed to each member, from a selection of dozens of images per title. In a fairly technical article (a must-read for ML fans) the team at Netflix outline how they deal with challenges like misrepresentation (ie. images acting as clickbait, leading to abandoned views), and so-called "cold starts", when they need to market a new release with no data. We lament the death of editorial curation, and wonder if "unpersonalising" the internet would be a good idea.

As part of their predictions for journalism for 2018, Nieman Journalism Lab have a piece that describes the emergence of 'bridge roles' in the newsroom. Product managers, heads of delivery, growth editors are acting as agents of change, speaking the language of engineering, journalism and product management and advocating a multidisciplinary approach. How will these roles evolve? Will they go when the individuals leave? 

Science 

This piece argues that there are potentially hard limits to human understanding, and has interesting thoughts about why complexity is so difficult to codify and compute. It also argues that when you pair humans with computers, both become more than the sum of their parts, which is something we can get behind.

Design

Basecamp explain what's wrong with agile, and in particular the positive impact you get when you protect the time of your teams.

This call for more shitty work struck a chord.

Culture and digital behaviour 

 Apparently Hygge is so 2016 and everyone has moved on. Why anyone would want to move on from cozy woollen socks and candles is a mystery. This article explains clearly how Hygge rose to such popularity with the British and why that popularity has since diminished.

Reading real books helps people concentrate. If you don't/can't get up at 5am every morning to meditate you'll never be a genius of focus. Which is a shame really. 

This piece from the Independent debates the fact that unlimited access to the internet on multiple devices is eating our attention.

 

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