Re: Generations #generations

Peter Marshall <peter.marshall@...>

Vert interesting discussion.

I agree that there are annoying (and counterproductive) current
cultural misconceptions with respect to age or generation and the
capability to multi-task. I see plenty of examples of old farts who
still can't tell the difference between their computer screen and
their browser and who think IM is the devil, but I see just as many
that can multi-task better than most teens, because they've learned
how their minds work. Having 6 chats going at once while doing
homework and watching TV is just a normal use of the brain's capacity,
if one wishes.

Certainly there is a "personal style" element which is interesting
too. I find it fascinating that exactly half of my immediate family
-- one of my sisters, my mom, and I -- all feel most comfortable in a
"distracting" environment. I love to concentrate amidst noise; I
think best when 3 things are going on, I work best in cafes -- never
libraries -- never. Although I love the solitude and quiet of
running, kayaking, and biking too. Go figure. My dad and my other 2
sisters are the polar opposite. There is no correlation in this tiny
sample set between this preference for ferment and analytic ability,
but there is a noticeable correlation with creativity/artistic feel.


On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 9:16 AM, David Snowden <snowded@...> wrote:
There are no universal rules here

Some people can multitask and some tasks are compatable (watching
star trek while doing your maths homework, listening to music while writing
to take too personal examples). Its partly a matter of what the brain is
used to. Listening to a conference call while using instant messaging can
in my experience increase concentration overall.

Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd
Now blogging at

On 3 Jul 2008, at 09:12, Gardner, Mike wrote:

I think it depends what you mean by multi-tasking.

I absolutely agree that trying to do two things at once leads to neither
being done correctly. You only have to look at the evidence for the use of
hand held phones in cars whilst driving to show this is the case. Trying to
do the two things together leads to accidents (and hence the ban on their
use in the UK). And even the evidence for the use of hands free phones in
cars and their relation to accidents is piling up (no metaphor intended).

I have found that I sometimes will listen to a conference call, have an
instant message conference going in the background with some attendees, and
be reading my email at the same time. But if someone suddenly asks you a
question in the meeting, how often do you find you have missed the last
point and have to ask them to recap. There may be an appropriate level where
you are only in a listening mode and can do some email processing while
listening to a teleconference. I would be interested to know if this has
ever been identified.

However, the focus on a single task with no other focus for the full day can
also detract from productivity. You sometimes need to step back and do
something else, and then return to the task with a fresh impetus. I know I
find that if I concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of all else I find
my mind starts to wander on to other subjects.

Mike Gardner
EDS CIO EKM Team - EDS Taxonomist & Content Rationalization Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1332 663964 (Home Office)
Mobile: +44 (0)7790 492991
Work from home, Derby, UK

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From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On
Behalf Of Bill Linn
Sent: 03 July 2008 08:42
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Multitasking

Here is another idea from Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. in his book
Crazy Busy he has a chapter on the Myth and Reality of Multitasking.
In it he says on page 19 that, "It is fine to believe that
multitasking is a skill necessary in the modern world, but to believe
it is an equivalent substitute for single-minded focus on one task is

I would agree with what Dr. Hallowell says on this. I personally
perform better on a task when I am focused and devote my attention to
it. I think you might find Crazy Busy and interesting book. It is a
very affordable book, easy to read and I feel it is a great resource
for my personal productivity study.

--- In sikmleaders@..., dkkildebeck@... wrote:

Great article on the Creative Passionate Users blog "Multitasking
makes us stupid?"
"Perhaps the biggest problem of all, though, is that the majority
of people doing the most media multitasking have a big-ass blind spot
on just how much they suck at it.
We believe we can e-mail and talk on the phone at the same time,
with little or no degradation of either communication.
We believe we can do homework while watching a movie.
We believe we can surf the web while talking to our
But we can't! (Not without a hit on every level--time, quality, and
the ability to think deeply)".
Here's the full article:

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "allan crawford" <allancrawford@...>
And once you have wireless in your car will you be trying to drive
at the same time?

John Medina's new book Brain Rules has some interesting insights
into the effectives (or lack of) for multitasking at any ageā€¦.

Allan Crawford

From: sikmleaders@...
[mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of Bill Ives
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 7:01 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] stop bashing the "older generations"

Good for you Validis, as an already gone grey consultant, I am
tired of all this old folks bashing around the use of social
software. Here is a blog post on a recent Enterprise 2.0 conference
where this came up and I objected. Us older people have actually
seen multiple waves of new technologies and can perhaps have a bit
more perspective here.


On Jul 2, 2008, at 9:00 PM, Valdis Krebs wrote:

As a starting-to-gray consultant, I have had a half a several Skype
chat sessions going at once, while I listen in on a conference
while I read/answer simple emails.

Not my typical day, but us old farts can multi-task too!


On Jul 2, 2008, at 7:23 PM, Ge, Yao (Y.) wrote:

There is a huge generation gap on "braing thrashing threshold".
Y seems to be able mutli-tasking much more effectively than older
generations (like me).

Peter Marshall
SVP, Platform Strategy & Chief Technology Officer
Peracon, Inc.
1650 Tysons Blvd., Suite 950
McLean, VA 22102
Office: (703) 748-7517
Mobile: (949) 689-7000
Skype: ideasware

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