Posts tagged “Pseudo-Events

Watermelon Day

Posted on August 3, 2017


In basic red-yellow-green project status reporting, a watermelon is a project that is reporting its status as green when it is actually red at its core. Green on the outside, red in the middle. It is superficially showing on track when it’s really at risk. What is seen on the outside doesn’t match the reality of the content. On National Watermelon Day, resolve to go below the surface, have substantive conversations, and solve real issues. Let’s go cut into some watermelons. *

That One Time

Posted on January 29, 2016


Remember the project that failed, the proposal that fell flat or the experience that didn’t quite live up to expectations? There are always a few people that latch onto that one time it didn’t go so well. It can become Exhibits A, B and C of failure and an excuse to never do anything remotely similar again. Invariably it happens when I review a portfolio of potential initiatives with a client. Oh, we tried that one once…it didn’t work. Only once!? The good news is circumstances are different now…we’re older, wiser perhaps…if nothing else, you can learn from the failure. Fight the overreaction to disaster. Find the variables you can control. Go get wins – however small they are at first – to gradually replace the one time…

The Sizzle and the Steak

Posted on October 7, 2014


Early in my consulting career, while working a project in New Jersey, I drove to Atlantic City for an evening. I met some teammates for dinner, played cards for a few hours and then drove back to my usual hotel near the client site. The next morning I walked into the office and was immediately confronted by one of my project managers – where did you go last night, who was with you, etc. – turns out some guys hadn’t made it back yet, and along with eight others I was now branded a member of the “AC9”. It didn’t matter what exactly was done or not done by each individual, what mattered was the negative narrative for the group. Dealing with communication as much as we did, we should have…

A Hackcrash of Reality

Posted on May 18, 2013


On April 23, 2013 a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account stated that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. Stock prices immediately dropped, wiping more than $130 billion off the value of the S&P 500, and market liquidity dramatically declined: In addition to raising further concerns about high-frequency trading algorithms, the hackcrash provides an opportunity to rethink how reality is created, framed and reported. Creating Reality In The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, Daniel Boorstin writes that in contemporary culture the fabricated, the inauthentic, and the theatrical have displaced the natural, the genuine, and the spontaneous, until reality itself has been converted into stagecraft. This concept of pseudo-events is quite powerful if we can differentiate between what is meaningful and…