Wednesday, September 2, 2009


“Everyone gets so much information all day long they lose their common sense.” - Gertrude Stein

Read On:
At 7:20 this morning I finished scrolling through my sixth online newsletter. Good stuff, especially all the information I gleaned on SmartBrief regarding social media – articles about consumer marketing companies printing their Twitter URL on their product labels, tips about building your own communities (a.k.a. networks), etc. By 8:00 I read all the bookmarked newsletters and blogs I failed to read due to travel. By 8:10 I had put a huge dent in my email which included several links to articles and YouTube video clips sent to me by my own personal maven that keeps me in the loop. As I headed to my kitchen to refresh my coffee, I suddenly was reminded of the above Gertrude Stein quote I once read. Imagine Gertrude Stein, writer, pioneer in recognizing/collecting modern art, lived pre-technology from 1874 to 1946. What would Gertrude be thinking today?

Well for starters if she were living today we could tweet her at Twitter@SteinG. However based on what I have read about her, we would not reach her since she would have deliberately left her Palm Pre at home. She would not want to be interrupted as she sat in a cafe, read the Le Monde that she picked up after her morning walk and daily exchange with her newspaper man. Then she would spend time watching Parisians scurrying to work like ants before thinking about what artist friend’s studio she wanted to visit.

By the time I finished pouring my coffee, I realized that Gertrude Stein had a point. It was only 8:14 and I was already on information overload. The day was young. Based on what was on my plate; client work, social networking, email, financials, more email, etc. I thought about when I would take timeout to think. If I don’t think, how would I ever exhibit the common sense I need to compete effectively in today’s world of chaos? Common sense is a byproduct of thinking. By the time I returned to my computer, I hit the off button and decided to walk down for a New York Times so I could talk to my newspaper man, sit in the park to read and watch everyone dropping off their children at the daycare center next to my residence as they race off to work. Definitely a topic for another day.

Recommended formula: Control the daily flood of information + take time out to think = common sense.


  1. great perspective ... thanks Jim!
    hope you are well. - Anita

  2. Today's information seems to come at us like waves in the ocean... we can't control the flow really but sometimes we learn from it and ride it out and other times it knocks us on our backsides, seemingly drowning us. Refreshing, overwhelming, even salty... what a great time to be alive!

  3. Jim,
    I picture the guy at his desk buried in he's electronically buried with the same result. Don't forget to stop and smell that cup of coffee. check out, Joe can do wonders.

  4. Jim,

    My 2 cents - control your inputs.

    For example, when I switched from listening to random radio during my commute to podcasts to which I decided to subscribe, my information overload went down.
    - Chris Martin