Mar 312010

The Human Whiteboard Syndrome

The Human Whiteboard Syndrome

I am working on a project with someone now (not at Return Path) who is proving to be a very frustrating colleague with whom to collaborate.  He has a condition that a friend of mine once referred to as “The Human Whiteboard Syndrome,” which means that his thoughts always reflect the last thing he heard on any given subject.  

This condition is unhealthy.  It leads to the following symptoms:

  • Whiplash:  you send people in one direction one day, another direction the next day
  • Fatigue:  rework is exhausting for those who are constantly in fluid situations, especially if they don’t have full access to information flow
  • Headaches:  it turns out that constantly changing one’s mind is painful for ones self, not just others

If you suspect you have shades of this condition – act quickly and go see a doctor.  Fortunately, it’s not contagious, but it could lead quickly to your professional demise.  If you have friends or colleagues who suffer from The Human Whiteboard Syndrome, mention it to them politely but firmly and recommend they seek immediate treatment, which generally takes the form of seeking out and synthesizing information from multiple sources, making a decision, and then communicating it clearly and loudly.

Filed under: Business

Mar 172010

Book Short: Gladwell Lite

Book Short:  Gladwell Lite

What the Dog Saw, And Other Adventures (book, Kindle) is Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.  Unlike his three other books, which I quite enjoyed:

this was not a complete book, but rather a compendium of his New Yorker articles loosely grouped into three themes.

If you love Gladwell and don’t read The New Yorker, it’s not a bad read. He’s a fantastic writer, and his vignettes are interesting.  There are many “hmmm” moments as we learn why ketchup always tastes the same but mustard doesn’t; why Ron Popeil is a great salesman of kitchen gadgets; or why the inventor of the birth control pill thought the Pope would endorse it.  But it falls far short of his three books, which go deep into topics and leave a much more lasting impression/impact.