2017

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PEOPLE WHO DON’T NORMALLY SHOW UP When Yosi Sergant was recruited by the Obama campaign in 2007 as a media consultant, he was told: “we’re not going to win unless people who normally don’t show up show up.” It was his task to bring new people to the polls. Yosi was new to politics, so

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“That’s irrelevant.” This sentence is sometimes used to imply that irrelevance is synonymous with triviality. If something is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter. It’s meaningless. Not true. Irrelevance is a distraction, and a dangerous one. Imagine walking up to two doors. One door is wood, locked, simple. It leads to the room you seek. The other

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People who do important work often delude ourselves about relevance in two ways: We believe what we do is relevant to everyone. We can connect it to everyday life, ergo, it is relevant. Everyone can see the door, everyone already has a key, and they can open the door anytime they like. We believe that

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It’s late at night, and you’re looking for something to watch on TV. Do you choose the movie you’ve seen before or a new one you know nothing about? For most people, each of these is appealing for different reasons. Novelty is exciting, but risky. Familiarity is comforting, but redundant. We all want some of

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Meaning, Effort, Bacon In pop culture-land, relevance is all about now. Who’s hot. What’s trending. But if you’re like me, that definition is deeply unsatisfying. And the experts are on our side. Remember Deirdre Wilson & Dan Sperber–the cognitive scientists who described relevance as something that “yields positive cognitive effect”? They are leading theorists in