Arjun Khemani - 041 Learning From Implicit Feedback

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041 Learning From Implicit Feedback

Here's the weekly "Amazing Things & Ideas Newsletter" which aims at making the reader a more rational thinker. As always, find one original idea from my side followed by the List.
     And if you like reading this edition, let the world hear it!

Learning From Implicit Feedback

Gaining feedback is important to us all. Not only to strict "creators" but also to people who won't necessarily identify as creating something—we all get a better understanding through feedback.

But not all feedback is obvious. The one that isn't obvious and harder to encounter (as is often the case) is more valuable than simply the normal, formal feedback somebody gives by telling you a bunch of things.

Learning from feedback in some places, seems to stop at whatever we are getting to know explicitly (that which is clearly put out in words). But the valuable stuff is not explicit. It is often implicit.

Learning and awareness need not come out of formal feedback sessions but feedback should be something we all be tirelessly on the look out for to better understand our misconceptions.

It is not obvious that I am doing something wrong. Someone may not bring that up on the table during a "formal session" but may hint it out in a casual conversation (even unknowingly to that person that they are giving you implicit feedback).

To illustrate: I send out a welcome message to all my new newsletter subscribers through an automated email. It first explains what to expect from my side each week, then it asks for the new subscriber's introduction because as I explain in the message, "I don't like to send these carefully crafted emails to bland addresses... I want to know who you are..."

Anyway, so just a couple days back a new subscriber replied with their interesting introduction and "Don't know what to expect from these newsletters but..."

It didn't immediately strike me that my automated email is not at all fit for the job because the email reply also praised what I had to say about in a blog post on my site. I'm strongly assuming even they didn't mean to tell me that "you should change your automated email, it's not clear." But I realized that. Not very quickly, but I did. 

This is implicit feedback. And this is just one of countless examples of it. Implicit feedback may come forth in many forms. It is important to have a keen eye out for it. Because you don't want to keep sending emails that fail to explain the subject for which they were written for.

The Amazing Things & Ideas List

  • Dealing with kids who roll their eyes at you:

    "Whenever kids roll their eyes at me I always thank them.

    It is such clear communication that there's something for me to shift. I consider it a gift.

    'Thank you for the feedback. I don't want to interact with you in a way that makes you roll your eyes at me, young human. I care about our relationship.'"

    A tweet by Vivek Patel (@meaningfulideas)
  • On the danger of using analogies in place for arguments:

    "Analogies are good for explaining new concepts. But if you use an analogy in place of an argument, you already lost the argument."

    Scott Adams
  • A tiny thought on the world being "a dark place":

    Those who tell you the world is a “dark place” are not experienced enough as much as they’ll tell you they are.

    Or perhaps they may be but have fallen into remembering reasons to hate more distinctly than those to love—a dark human tendency.

  • Prediction vs. Prophecy:
    "Prophecy is biased towards pessimism" by Brett Hall

    This newsletter puts forth a logical explanation for why prophecy is biased towards pessimism. 

    It is simply because "imagining problems is easier than the conjunction of imagining the problems AND their solutions."

    Read the newsletter here.
An article posted on my blog this week:
  • Craving for explanations:
    - How we understand the Universe
    - Why choosing dogma is a fool's errand
    - Our craving for explanation has led to humanity’s progress
    - Why it is our duty to be optimists

    Read the post here.

Thank you for reading.


* If you liked this newsletter, I encourage you to share it. That’ll reach more people who may benefit from this.

** If you have any questions / suggestions / comments / criticisms, I'd love to hear them from you; please write to me by replying to this email.

Check out my Twitter (@arjunkhemani) where I post more about these kinds of topics.

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