Monday, 3 April 2017

Fake News? No, Fake New!

So I'm a teenager singing my heart out loudly to the latest, coolest, pop song when my mother joins in. The shock of it. How could she possibly know the words and the tune? She can see the bafflement in my face so explains, "This tune was very popular when I was at college," she says. I'm still baffled. I'm too young to realise the industry uses remakes and cover versions to extend and maximise the returns from IP so I can't believe it. I look at her as if she must be making it up. Now she looks confused, and perhaps slightly hurt, that I don't believe her. But she was right and it was true. It's just that like most humans we assume what is new to us is new to the world. Few of us have the scientific instinct to do a reference search to verify the source and avoid 'Chinese whispers'. The song was what I now refer to as a "Fake New".
It happened to me that same way but in reverse twice last week.

How do you explain that you had been there, done it and got the t-shirt, without sounding like an arrogant, but very fake, schmuck?

I'd been telling my story about the hunter gathers surprised by the sabre-toothed tiger suffering from Joseph Le Doux/B F Skinner's research on 'Amygdala hijack' and using it as a way to explain how crucial it was to engage and not surprise stakeholders. The session was almost verbatim from my book All Change! a Financial Times best selling book when it was published a while ago. One of the participants approached me and said, "Do you have any other books you'd recommend? You're obviously telling us stuff from Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow." I knew instantly how my mother must have felt all those years ago. There is no easy way to refute such confidence. So I smiled, mentioned that I had shared a couple of stages with Kahneman (code for, "I am not pilfering his stuff. I am invited for my stuff") and said, "Do you mean any of my other books." Now it was her chance to look confused. But I think I felt worse. How do you explain that you had been there done it and got the t-shirt without sounding like an arrogant, but very fake, schmuck?

How do you point out the "Fake New" of a bad cover version to the author agent and publisher without seeming petty and perhaps ending up having to sue them?

The second event was even more galling but harder to handle. What do you do when a Pulitzer prize winning writer purloins your stuff then misrepresents it and gets the content and concept ridiculed? That's how it happened to me when a text from one of my colleagues sent me to this link. If you know anything about me and my work over the past three decades you'll recognise the curves. They are what I was asked to do a TED Global talk about. if you read the article or book you'll also realise the concept and solutions are completely misrepresented. But how do you point out the 'Fake New' of a bad cover version to the author agent and publisher without seeming petty and perhaps ending up having to sue them?

Surviving in a world of data overload where everyone want's to make a difference, be noticed and be famous regardless is not for the lazy or faint hearted.

Don't fall for cover versions - find the original. Remember the 'Fake New' often misinterprets or leaves out vital elements of what you are reading about. Consider how Digitalisation slipped into Digitisation. And transformation slipped into change. Ask yourself, "How likely is it that this person has a deep understanding of the issues, deep enough to really be a thought leader?" Search a bit around the concept. One "Fake New" I tripped over was a company who, having been advised by an 'Agile' Consultant, were making people sit at a different desk each day and stand up for meetings in the board room all squashed up in the corner because the board table and chairs were still present! Somewhere the principles of Agile projects got misinterpreted.
In out post truth world remember that "Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true".*
* See, you almost fell for it. It's a great quote but it's not mine. It's from the visionary and author Richard Bach

You must get on QUBE because you will meet truthful people and also some who are not


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