Friday, May 14, 2010

So ... What's Behind Door Number 2?

It began on a whim.

Prior 2 posting on Monday, a sudden flash of inspiration dictated a sharp turn toward the more creative right side of the TSB brain.

It came in the form of a question:

2 be or not 2 be ... Creative?

Just 2 see where the path would lead.

And the type of feedback that might follow.

Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 12:00 PM
To: Gair Maxwell
Subject: Re: Today's TSB Posting ..."A New Way 2 Think ... About Creativity"

Would be interested to get the story on the use of 2....
Sorry my pattern seeking self could not help but notice and I know the use of 2 has meaning....U don't do that without purpose....

The pattern continued 2 unfold on Tuesday with a TSB posting titled "How 2 Promote Creativity". With respect 2 what keeps creativity bottled up in many individuals and organizations, I pointed out:

"But several things typically get in the way, not the least of which is a steep cultural reluctance 2 experiment, fail, experiment some more, fail again, really fuck something up and then finally figure something out. Research tells us the only thing that separates the great scientists from the average was a willingness 2 employ trial and error as a way of doing business".

Taking my own advice, 2 experiment, employ trial and error and say W.T.F., the trend continued 2 unfold in the Wednesday and Thursday postings.

Reader feedback intensified.

May 12, 2010 1:10 PM
East Coast Gal said...

Gair, please go back to spelling 2 as two or to or too! It's too distracting to me, I have to read it two times or more! :-)

Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:17 PM
To: Gair Maxwell

I hate it's driving me crazy and I'm reading the blog 2 slowly...2 many 2's are making me crosseyed....I beg u to please stop using's just 2 much!

May 13, 2010 10:16 AM
Brain Diesel said...

A side note 4 your consideration...
2day's post had me 1dering why you has 2 use "2" as a substi2te. 2 date this has not been your 10dency.
This 1 looks 4ward 2 2morrow's post with less numbers as they were un4tun8ly distracting. :)

Already, I was starting 2 see several common patterns develop as readers shared their thoughts on this most unorthodox writing style. Perhaps the most refreshing thing was 2 see the level of creativity the experiment inspired in others.

This precious little gem emerged as the clear-cut winner.

Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 7:52 AM
Subject: My Too Cents Worth

Alright Gair...what's up with the use of 2 instead of to. Are you trying 2 assault my senses because that's what's happening 2 me. You know how Roy speaks of ads being made not 2 offend? Well, your use of two is likely splitting your audience in2 too camps. I'm in the camp that hates seeing the language bastardized by 2 much use of to.
2 what ends are you attempting to do this?
It's a sacrilege of the language. I wonder how Bishop Desmond 22 would feel if Jesus was replaced in the bible by J-Man? Probably not happy. That's how I feel about your blatant disregard for my beloved to. You've gone 2 far this time.
I'd be curious 2 know if others feel this way two?


And with that submission from Ian, TSB concludes this was a path of creative exploration worth taking if only 2 savor this line ...

"I wonder how Bishop Desmond 22 would feel if Jesus was replaced in the bible by J-Man?"

Another part of the rationale for heading down this dusty trail is my firm belief two heads are better than one when it comes to generating creative ideas - and getting them implemented. No one can do it alone and the TSB blog is no different. There are so many instances when you, the reader, make an invaluable contribution towards this ongoing dialogue and a growing forum we share every business day. In other words, there have been many examples, like today, where people like you have supplied high octane idea fuel that ignites these daily postings. Respectfully, I am saying without you, the reader, this writer is irrelevant and without purpose. So what we have here is a collaborative platform between writer and reader that would have been deemed impossible even ten years ago. It always takes two.

In case you are interested and just for the record, Two is the Duality Number.

It reflects diversity; conflict; dependence. Two is a static condition requiring equal but polar opposites. Think of the dual but necessary forces always coexisting. Good and Evil, King & Queen. Sun and Moon. Black and White. Fight or Flight. Yin and Yang. Theory and Practice. Risk and Reward. Opportunity and Security. Liberal and Conservative. Hot and Cold. North and South. Hero and Villain. Country and Western. Rock and Roll. You'll also find numerous references in the Bible going back to when God ordered Noah to put two of every animal in his ark and later on, when He made sure Moses came back from the mount with the Ten Commandments on two tablets. It is the nature of this duality that helped inspire a major, recurring theme in the recently released, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS".

For many, this has been a week to remember.

As an "experiment", TSB has learned a valuable lesson.

People will be quick to agree with you on the fundamental value of experimenting and coloring outside the lines, but when you actually do it, you run a real risk of pissing a lot of those same people off. In other words, there is a huge gap between what people think and articulate intellectually and how they react and behave emotionally.

Hope this brought some level of insight to your door.

"Just as we have two eyes and two feet, duality is part of life"

P.S. ... Can't resist offering several musical examples where the Number Two plays a significant role in elevating these numbers to the top of the charts.


Angie said...
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Angie said...
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East Coast Gal said...
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Rick Nicholson said...

I was getting used 2 the "2" usage. I found it interesting and bastardizing.

Aren't we supposed to push the enveloppe?

When I was a kid, which wasn't that long ago, I remember looking up swear words in the Webster Dictionary. Believe it or not, "fuck" was not there. Do you remember the old saying, "Ain't ain't a word, 'cause it ain't in in the dictionary". Words and usage of words develop over time. Some get dropped, and some become popular. Ye will be fine.

In today's digital world, pissing off someone comes with the territory. It means you're relevant.

The digital world is here to stay. The world of lmao, wtf, lol and bff is here to stay. Why can't "2" live among us? Because some dinosaurs unwilling to change find it awkward?

Duality many be important but think about content. If something so small as prose pisses people off, are they really getting the message? Are these the people that are open-minded enough to carry the torch? Are you wasting your digital breath?

Inspired by you everyday. Great work.

simon said...

"Duality is the source of all suffering." -Buddha.

East Coast Gal said...

Honestly, I was ready to hit the unsubscribe button!

I personally don't think what you were trying with "2" was colouring outside the lines. I may sound like a sour school librarian here, but you were simply perpetuating the decrease in the level of our society's skill at writing. It wasn't creative – it seemed disrespectful to those of us who treasure the written word.

I feed myself on the largesse of language, the wending of words. I lament the end of the era of the greeting card over a facebook greeting, the letter over email.

It feels inevitable, but, I ask, If we continue down this path, will the pen continue to be mightier than the sword? I have doubt.

simon said...
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simon said...

I would like to respond to what Rick posted regarding the use of modern extensions to language such as Lmao, wtf, lol, bff. You'll notice that each of these are acronyms, in other words, they are extensions of existing, and well known, phrases. This is very important since they are already known, and what they represent in cognitive psychology terms is "chunking", or the natural tendency of the brain to combine complex sets of data into smaller bits of information.

What Giar has done with the replacement of the word to with the number 2 is not an extension, it's a replacement which has far worse consequences. As a research scientist in the field of human computer interaction (HCI) I know this phenomenon as a "hard mental operation" [Green-Petre, Cognitive Dimensions Framework]. What this means is that something that has been learned to the level of habit, such as reading the word to, is presented in such a way that requires the brain to engage higher-order cognitive functions to "decode" the meaning of the symbol, in this instance the number 2. While engaged in reading we do not cognate the meaning of each word, rather, the subconscious takes care of that for us. The syntax and semantics have become 2nd nature, through repetition, therefore, when we run into a foreign symbol we must elevate an autonomic process into conscious mode, and this is painful - cognitively speaking.

In Gar's example it gets worse since the symbol is being placed in context of an already known symbol, and therefore even harder to deduce. I think many readers would attest to this pain, and have reacted with their posts. Donald Norman, a HCI guru of some fame, explained this principle in his seminal work "The Design of Everyday Things" by showing that the subconscious performance of the brain is far faster than the conscious, and that context switching between them required a change of attention that slowed down usability, efficiency, and was more error prone. Thus, designing user interfaces with these properties will result in the reactions you have experience here.

Brain Diesel said...

Well Gair,

I was actually going to bring this up to you yesterday when I saw you in Starbucks, but I didn't want to interrupt your creative process.

I guess that isn't the first time I have been part of an experiment without my knowledge, and doubtfully the last.

For me, the use of 2 was like a speed bump in my reading, where I would trip over it and have to reread the section, same as when someone misspells your name in a letter.

I have to admit, this
"People will be quick to agree with you on the fundamental value of experimenting and coloring outside the lines, but when you actually do it, you run a real risk of pissing a lot of those same people off." made me laugh.

Great post. Keep them coming.

Gair Maxwell said...

The debate this post has inspired and some of the thoughts and insights that have been shared only serves to tell me this experiment was worth the risk ...

Thanks for sharing your honest opinions ...


Angie said...

You forgot the beginning of all, Adam and Eve. When one, Adam was lonely, incomplete, missing something. God created Eve. That made two, defiantly better then one. Two is complete, its really only one. Without the other its really only half. A man and a women together become one. Both complementing each other. He sees the end result, she sees the process. He sees the bill, she sees the meal. Eve contemplated eating the fruit, thought it through, analysed it, ate it. Adam took it blind sided, didn’t even think about it and then blamed Eve.

One, the equal of two, isn’t at all perfect. Nothing ever is. Brilliant doesn’t equal perfect. Awesome Doesn’t equal perfect. Creative doesn’t equal perfect. Just as Good doesn’t equal Evil, King doesn’t equal Queen, Sun doesn’t equal Moon, Theory doesn’t equal Practice, Risk doesn’t equal Reward, Opportunity doesn’t equal Security, Liberal doesn’t equal Conservative, Hot doesn’t equal Cold, North doesn’t equal South, Hero doesn’t equal Villain, Country doesn’t equal Western, and Rock doesn’t equal Roll. None are perfect. But they can be Brilliant, Awesome, Creative.

Man and women together cannot be perfect. But they can be Brilliant, Awesome and Creative. Apart they can be…………divorced.

Just like the left side of your brain complements your right side. Two sides equalling one. Using only your left side will leave you logical, using only your right side will leave you feeling good. Using them both together to complement everything you do…..One!…..Brilliant! Awesome! Creative

Rick Nicholson said...

Simon's comments are very interesting to me. The long written text as displayed in a post like this is harder to compute cognitively than the short written text used in cell phone texting. Based on your comments, is this because the habits associated with each have been created on a different scale?

Secondly, I'm guessing habitual reading could be unlearned however it will be at great pain to the reader.

Is there any research that has determined the length of time the habit needs to be reformed?