New ideas through your ears


Dalager pointed me to this interview with Alistair Cockburn yesterday, and I’ve been listening to it on my iPod on my way home last night, and back to work this morning.

Several great things about it. Not only can you get, as they say “New Ideas Through Your Headphones” while you’re doing other things – like commuting – where you can’t be reading.

The best thing, though, is that hearing the person speak tells you more about the person behind it, the history behind it, etc. Alistair tells you things about how this all came about, his relationship with Kent, Ward, and the others, things that you normally don’t see in written form.

It’s about bandwidth. In terms of efficiency of communicating a fixed, limited message, written form is definitely better. You can typically read faster than the other person can speak, so in that sense, the bandwidth of written language is higher. But speaking has much higher bandwidth in the areas of emphasis, personality, phrasing, etc., which tells you a lot about the person, what he’s thinking, what he’s really excited about, what he’s a bit bored with, etc.

Thanks for the hint!


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