Iqbal Mohammed

What Fiction Writers Can Teach Us about Writing Creative Briefs

Recently, Guardian invited prominent authors to list out their 10 rules for writing fiction. It became a popular feature, collating the wisdom of several authors and even overflowed into a part two.

Reading it, I wondered if a few of these rules can be picked out and applied to something closer home - like writing a creative brief. It does seem like a stretch as the two activities are possibly diametrically opposite, if nowhere else but in our own minds.

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Know It, but Don't Include It

The New York Times brings this story of an economist who has been predicting - disconcertingly accurately - the medals tally for the last few Olympics. (Via Freakonomics.) Daniel Johnson - the economist in question - is currently in the news for his predictions for the current Winter Olympics.

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Facebook and the Myth of QWERTY's Inferiority

Writing about the impending 'technological lock-in' of the social operating system space by Facebook, Reuters in a recent article compared the site to the QWERTY keyboard layout. (Via Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.)

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How to Forge a Top-of-the-line Cyborg Planner

Clive Thompson points to this wonderful essay on computer chess by Garri Kasparov and draws our attention to an intriguing experiment in human chess-machine diplomacy.

Undone by the brute calculative power of IBM's Deep Blue in 1997, Garri came upon a wonderful way to juxtapose the deep calculative method of chess computers with the intuitive and strategic approach of human chess players.

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Donations that Regress against the Mean

In his agony economist column for FT, Tim Harford last week tackles a question about how to lure donation money from contributors.

The conundrum faced by the questioner was whether to suggest predefined contribution amounts and risk losing larger donations or not to prompt any amount at all and risk losing micro-contributions from a large majority.

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The Architecture of Un-blink

Over at BLDGBLOG, Geoff Manaugh points to an interesting study that estimates that we may be missing as much as 15 minutes of a 150-minute movie through the very act of blinking. What's even more interesting however, is the discovery that most movie-watchers tend to blink in unison - at non-critical moments of plot or action.

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Maps and Why Nassim Nicholas Taleb Is Wrong about Them

This FT review of 'Lecturing Birds on Flying' points to a quote by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in the book's preface: "Giving someone the wrong map is worse than giving them no map at all." (Via Mark Earls)

It's a sort of maxim that seems an ironclad un-contestable truth. No doubt, it was quoted by Taleb as such - to make the case for the arguments in the book.

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The News Industry, Disaggregation of Audiences and 'Failed Truths'

by: Iqbal Mohammed

Recently, much discussion online (and offline) has centred around the impending doom of journalism and the news industry. As an enthusiastic cheerleader of all the disruptive effects of the Internet, my opinion until of late has been that the changes couldn't have come about sooner.

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Where to Watch Youtube Videos as a Sequential Series of Frames (and Why)

by: Iqbal Mohammed

Yooouuutuuube is a site that allows one to watch Youtube videos (specified by URL or a random one) as a series of sequential frames placed one after the other.

There are a couple of options you can tweak to choose the resulting presentation (including the all important frame size) - but after you play a few vidoes this way, it may all seem too pointless or just another fun way to waste time.

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Why Working on a Marketing Strategy Is Like Solving a Sudoku

by: Iqbal Mohammed

Adrian Ho wrote a post last week about how solving sudokus serves as a metaphor for doing marketing strategy, and followed up by listing his thoughts on what's analogous between the two.

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