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Top Posts of 2011

2011 December 28
by Greg Satell

Okay, I’m gonna just come right out and say it.  2011 was a very strange year.  We seemed to be caught in a limbo, teetering in between crises and recovery and wondering what the hell is going on!

For me personally, it was the year I returned home to the US after 15 years abroad in Eastern Europe.  As I watched Ukraine fall back under an authoritarian regime as if the Orange Revolution never happened,  I felt a strong sense of deja vu watching the Arab Spring unfold.  I hope events unfold more benevolently there.

While the rest of the world seemed embroiled in chaos, the digital world marched on and so did Digital Tonto.  Once again, I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support. I’ve learned from your comments, enjoyed conversations on Twitter and elsewhere and have been immeasurably enriched by all of you.  Here are my top posts from 2011.

Triumphant Tales of Heartbreaking Desperation

Actually, this one wasn’t stellar in terms of audience or even social media sharing.  Still, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written and the emotional response I got from people who read it was enormous.

So I’m putting it on top and urge you to check it out if you missed it the first time around.

5 Principles of Innovation

I just posted this one a few weeks back, but it really seemed to hit a nerve.  As soon as I posted it, thousands of people read it and hundreds shared it.  I’m not sure why it performed so well, but it is a good summary of concepts that I’ve been writing about all year.

Why Almost Everything You Hear About Digital Media Is Wrong

While many thought that digital media’s gains would be traditional media’s loss, the opposite has happened.  TV viewership and market share are high by historical standards and many print companies are thriving as well.

This post explains how digital doesn’t compete with traditional like we’ve been led to believe.  While old media still excels at old tasks, new media is opening up opportunities elsewhere.

6 Popular Ideas That Fail

Some ideas are so attractive, so seemingly logical that many are happy to jump on the bandwagon.  Unfortunately, just because they are popular doesn’t mean that they really work.  This post gives six examples, with links to research debunking them.

Our Emergent Digital Future

I was particularly proud of this one and continue to use its reasoning as a framework for thinking about how the digital world is moving forward.  I outline four digital forces and explain how the interactions between them will drive technology for the rest of the decade.

It was an ambitious post and I was, truth be told, surprised that it was so popular, but gratified that it was.  After reading it again, I still think it holds up.  Take a look and see if you agree.

The Digital World in 2020

This one was a follow up to the previous one.  Although the four digital forces will continue for years to come, by 2020, they will begin to fray.  What follows will be a complete reordering of the digital space that will be driven by quantum computing, nanotechnology and an organic approach to information architecture.

These new forces will shape the next half century of technology, just as microprocessors shaped the last half century.

5 Principles of Creativity

It’s clear that creativity is becoming far more important in the marketplace.  The good news is that decades of research have uncovered clear principles that drive it.  So if you’re interested in instilling a creative culture, read this post!

What Is Strategy?

I’ve written a lot about strategy, but this post, along with The Truth About Strategy which I wrote about the same time, probably do the best job of encapsulating my approach.  Both got an enormous response, check them out to find out why.

How Social Network Analysis Solves Real World Problems

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about social networks primarily in terms of social media.  This post shows how that misses the big picture.  Social networks are one of the most exciting areas of study today, yielding important insights about a variety of fields.

What Is Intelligence?

Anyone following the US Presidential debates should have no problem defining stupidity. Defining intelligence, however, is far more difficult and far more important.  As we seek to create intelligent machines, we are, ironically, learning a vast amount about human intelligence, which is both far more interesting and far more human than you would have thought.

How to Make Better Decisions

Over the past decade or two, our understanding of how the mind works has been turned upside down.  Where before it was assumed that we are driven by rationality, an abundance of evidence from neurologists and behavioral economists shows that we are very much emotional creatures.

What’s more, it seems that, at least most of the time, we are much better for it and that we can improve our ability to make decisions.  The key is to know when to stop and think and when to go with your gut.

Social Media and Revolution

Well, Malcolm Gladwell found the need to mouth off about social media’s role in revolution so I once again found the need to debunk him.  Unlike Mr. Gladwell, I’ve experienced a revolution first-hand and show how social media plays an important role.

Why You Should Fire Nasty People

Read the words, “nasty people” and I’m sure some faces come to mind.  We’ve all encounter them and they are a real pain.  What’s more, there is a plethora of evidence that suggests that they are far more trouble than they are worth.  Read on an find out why.

So there they are.  Thanks again to all of you who contributed over the past year and looking forward to seeing you again in 2012.

Have a happy and safe New Year!

– Greg

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