Whenever my curiosity threatens to get the better of me I can just hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “What we don’t know can’t hurt us, ignorance is bliss.” As usual, mothers know best, and her advice is sound. Or is it? The things we don’t know can’t hurt us in any way that we can recognize of course, because as the saying indicates… We just don’t know any better. On a personal level, ignorant bliss may be harmless and acceptable, but what about in business? Or in war? Errol Morris, acclaimed film director, considers this idea in his recent editorial in the times, begging us to consider not just what we know we don’t know – those questions you want to ask but don’t, or can’t – but also the things that we don’t even know we don’t know, the poetically named, “unknown unknowns”.
David Dunning, the social psychologist Errol Morris consulted on the subject, reminds us that when former White House Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld publicly acknowledged the unknown unknowns of the war in Iraq he was showered with a staggering amount of criticism for admitting – **GASP** – his ignorance, but Dunning follows this up by saying it was actually the smartest thing he’d heard in a long while; the idiot, he explains, would be the person who didn’t realize there could possibly even be things he didn’t know he didn’t know. Scrapping the repetitive simpleton verbiage, all of this can be boiled down to the fact that all human beings suffer from a limited field of vision, influenced by our generation, education, and circumstance. This is at once what limits us, by preventing us from thinking outside of the box (sometimes preventing us from acknowledging the box at all), and also what makes humanity so precious and complex; human beings complement eachother… where one lacks, another fills in. This is why teams often prove most effective, in business as in sports.
Here at Mashwork, we make it our job to fill in your unknown unknowns. There is a huge disconnect occurring between what the executives of leading companies want answers to and the kind of answers they get. Most social media data mining services can answer those questions in a minimal way; they can tell you how many times your keywords are mentioned online, and give you a basic sense of whether the conversation is trending positively or negatively. Mashwork can take you deeper and dirtier. We can tell you how many people are talking and exactly what everyone is saying, we can break the conversation down into categories and trend each category for you across time, we can tell you who is the leading voice of each conversation and which online space is dominating the chatter, we can tell you where your presence is strongest, where it could be stronger, and exactly how to make it so. We are there to bridge the gap for you, bringing you a multitude of information, but doing so in a way that is clear, concise, informative, useful, and actionable.
Sorry, mom, you were wrong on this one, no more blissful ignorance; enough of the empty numbers and thumbs up/thumbs down answers; let’s get you insightful answers you didn’t even know you wanted, let’s defeat the unknown unknowns, let Mashwork take you outside of the box.