“The more stunning the surprise and the more radical the reframe, the more impactful the information.” Richard W. Friesen
If someone tells you something you already know, the value of the information itself is low, but the information about your relationship and belonging can be high.
Claude Shannon recognized that the fundamental value of information is “surprise.” In his 1948 “Mathematical Theory of Communication,” he postulated (along with foundational information theory) that the value of information is driven by “surprise,” that is to say…news to us.
As I read Twitter, I realize that many Tweets contain no “surprise” but are a megaphone for team players. What is the point? I postulate that though the information doesn’t contain a surprise, a reframe, or contextual challenges, it delivers the information, “Hey, I am on your team!”
Here is a crude chart that represents both the value of information and the value of team alliance. Can we both fill our emotional need for “belonging” and our critical thinking need for surprises, reframes and challenges to our context? The Yellow arrow is the mindset where we can move back and forth intentionally and with awareness.
After 30 years as a floor trader in Chicago and San Francisco, as the founder of a trading firm, as a therapist, as CEO of a technology company, and inventor of 10 widely used financial patents, I have a radical framework for looking at economics, politics, and psychology.
Can I communicate high-value information in short Tweets and longer papers and videos? Can Rich “Reframe” his experience with information that makes it more valuable? In doing so, I imagine a reframe that is a “surprise” but will also demonstrate my disregard for team alliances.
My hope is to deliver a map and model that is helpful as we navigate our challenging economic, political, and personal world. Please challenge me every step of the way.
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