so what difference does it make?


Danny Boyle

Does the movie director Danny Boyle look increasingly like the singer Morrissey to you, or is it just me?

Perception is a point I will come back to another time, as it’s the subject of some research I’ve bubbling in a pot.

But talking of Morrissey, did you know he was shocked into the realisation that he could be in a band while seeing one of the Sex Pistols early gigs in Manchester? He claims to have realised there and then that if the Pistols could be so fresh and yet still unable to play an instrument, what was stopping him?

You’d probably think the idea that Malcolm McLaren and the Pistols were responsible for The Smiths seems removed by at least a couple of degrees of separation. But that sort of uncertainty is hard to judge I guess?

And while Morrissey may, or may not, be talking to Johnny Marr these days. Johnny’s move in joining the band Modest Mouse and both writing material for their second album and joining them for a tour is genuinely cause for joy.

I first encountered Modest Mouse on a video jukebox that was playing on some club wall in Second Life ( I’d joined a few friends online to listen to some tunes and shoot the breeze for an hour before attending an online live music concert there. And when the vid for the track Float On tripped in with its guitar riff, I was hooked.

The hook for Second Life has stayed with me from their post 1 million consumer visitor milestone to the somewhat giddy heights of the post 5 million that it reached last week. In less than a year the rate of growth is huge and still accelerating.

The number of users is also affecting Second Life, as the software developers (Linden Labs) scramble to keep up with the demand. They are frantically hiring new staff to support a spralling number of servers, system upgrades and an active user base that is potentially doubling every 3 months.

In case you haven’t tried Second Life yet, it’s a freeform digital entertainment environment that combines elements of social online networking, gaming, gambling, brand experience zones, a tax evasion loop, a creative playground (like lego for architects, designers and programmers) and a prototype visual internet portal.

Go figure what Second Life is by your personal view of the world. You may well find the mental baggage you bring with you and what you look for there frames your view on what Second Life actually is.

But with 30,000 people online at any second and over 1m consumers now regularly using the system every month, the programme is a genuine online phenomenon. I may post more about the brand opportunities and user experience in SL another time.

I find a lot of people are interested in it and with 60% of the users now based outside of the USA, it’s becoming an ever more relevant tool for me from both a social and work perspective.

It’s a place where I very much click with Dylan William’s comments to me once about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. This is commonly thought of as the effect caused by the active observation of a researcher on what he is studying.

I was recently told by a friend that the Uncertainty Principle really describes how precisely we may measure the position and the momentum of an atomic particle at the same time. But apparently if we increase the precision in measuring one thing (position or momentum), we are forced to lose precision in measuring the other.

So the Uncertainty Principle apparently applies reliably with measurement, and not observation, to Quantum Physicists at least. But the idea that the Uncertainty Principle relates to possible disturbance caused through observation from a market researcher feels appropriate to me.

While it is no longer considered to be valid in quantum mechanics, I wonder if an observation effect has ever been measured in market research? Assuming that the act of trying to establish whether there is a measurable effect actually increases the level of shift in the research results anyway. How do you judge how much you are further exaggerating this affect by trying to measure the abberation? How would you calibrate the findings?

Now I guess I need someone to explain a research paradox to me?

Or, in the words of Morrissey, “So what difference does it make?”

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