Saturday, April 5, 2014

'Bout Memes and WIIFMs

Language is a virus from outer space (and hearing your name is better than seeing your face) - - William S. B.  (and Laurie Anderson)

Before criticizing someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes. (Jack Handey)


This post is about the power of memes, and the most powerful one I was infected with.

It is purely my take on things and (as always) should be treated with hard headed un-seriousness.

Lets go!

What is a Meme?

The world (assuming there is such a beast) is full of ideas, possibilities, actions, directions, and is (so they say) ever changing. still some ideas seem to survive while others just come and go.

This is mainly due to the fact that we are a pattern seeking animal, hence if you try to convince me (for example) that
- if everyone will decide for themselves whatever they want the result will be that there won't be a clear direction
I won't be that impressed, and probably will forget your message mid-sentence (given the bear with little brain that I am),

but if you say instead:
- Anarchy causes disorder
I'll probably understand you waaay better, and may even be able to repeat it after a day or so. probably using more or less that same phrasing.

A Meme is exactly this, an idea that has the capability to infect you, and it is at its strongest when it is clear, provocating, and has a catchy title. (a strong visual won't hurt...)

Some examples are Troll, WASP, Bio-products, SEP-field , and even Meme itself.

It is a shortcut that (like Occam's razor) shows you the shortest path to a complex and useful idea.

All this to introduce the most useful meme I've encountered in recent years, which is - WIIFM.

What the H#@%^ck is a WIIFM?

You may be saying WTF... (another meme :-) but this concept modeled for me what makes the world tick, and how to convince and engage your surrounding.
It simply means the question I advise you to constantly pose and try answer before it is explicitly asked: "What's in it for Me?"
If I want you to read this post - Why would you? What's In It For you?
If I want the team to work as a team - Why would they? What's In It For them?
If I want someone to cooperate - Why would she?

This is why you don't fill a progress report your manager asked you, because - why should you? what would you gain from this?


So, what's in it for you? why should you use this meme? (and how?)
- It will reduce your frustration when people don't react as you want (instead of feeling frustrated, you will try to put yourself in their shoes (* see quote above.))
- It will allow you to motivate yourself (as in - 'why am I writing this post?', 'I think it is since I want to understand the idea better', 'well, do I?', 'yup...', etc...)
- It will allow you to motivate others ('Why would someone read this far?', 'since she was provoked and found it funny', 'aha! so I'll add the Jack Handey quote on top and refer to it again'...)

A final note about a Meme

One of the reasons I find the Meme concept so interesting is the inversion of control, since it is not the people who pass the idea around, but the idea itself that uses people to spread itself. and (just like Laurie Anderson's virus) the strongest one survives and flourishes.

See y'all nextime!

Your Scrum'em bear.

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