Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 28, 2009

Let Simon Decide

Attention all procrastinators. This site will guide you through the decision-making process and possibly break the deadlock of inaction either by making a decision for you or by offering a decision you disagree with, hence helping you discern your true thoughts on a matter.

This is not a magical site or a random number generator to give you a meaningless decision, instead it guides you through your decision making by prompting you to capture options, weigh them and then it reflects your thinking back to you with a decision. It uses mathematics behind the scenes a bit like the television program, Numbers.

You can then choose to share your decision with the world – or not. Although it is illuminating to learn how others approached their decisions, for example:

  • Should I change my career path? Open my own business
  • Should I buy an I-phone or a Blackberry Blackberry
  • Should I wear boxers or briefs? Go commando
  • Choosing a house – Current home
  • Should I go back to school? Go back to school part-time
  • Should I breast- or bottle-feed my baby? Breastfeed

I asked Simon whether I should come on your show tonight, stay in the office and work, or veg out. Simon said: Stay in office and work.

Click here to Let Simon Decide for you.


Keeping on the decision-making theme, Hunch is a new web property designed to help you make decisions. However, this is a fluffy, fun site and not a serious site. For example, the questions at the basic level are guided by topics already added by other members. Until you show a higher level of involvement in the site, you can only work around the questions already loaded. When you find a question that matches your query, it does lead you through some helpful questions to find an answer.

Over time, Hunch claims that it learns from your input to the site what things are important to you and gives you answers that it might not give others.

The site is focussed on fun and shares some peculiar findings drawn from users’ data, such as:

  • Hunch users who prefer McD’s fries need more than 10 min. to run a mile. But BK fry lovers like to play frisbee in the park.
  • The 22% of Hunch users who are afraid of clowns tended to know what math was before kindergarten.
  • Fact: 59% of Hunch users say they like the smell of Play-Doh.
  • Hunch users preferring a Vespa like veggies on their pizza; those preferring a Harley tend to favor the death penalty.
  • Hunch users who prefer aisle seats tend to spend more money on other people than themselves. The opposite goes for window choosers.
  • The 12% of Hunch users who are left handed tend to favor diamonds as their card suit.
  • 9% of Hunch users are SCUBA divers. 1% are pilots. 33% have blown a dandelion in the last year.
  • Hunch users who don’t like pulp in their OJ tend to wait for the crosswalk to turn green. But pulp lovers just dart across.

You’ll be happy to know, Sean, that unlike Simon, Hunch says I should come out tonight to be with you vs staying- 95% to 5%. You can follow your Hunch too, taking answers with a pinch of salt though.

Present finder

Here’s a different realm of decision-making – buying gifts. This one is loaded with gift ideas and should certainly cover the “person who has everything” category. Obviously, you can buy directly from the site or just use it as an idea starter.

There are some useful categories such as “Difficult Dads”, “Moody Adolescent Girls”, “Stroppy Teenage Boys” and “Impossible In-laws” – get the idea?

  • Impossible in-laws – leather animals, microflight lessons (hidden agenda perhaps?), dishwasher needs loading/emptying signs, “old bag” tea bag tidy.
  • Wacky – personalised face masks, fire bucket barbecue, ATM money box, Digger the Dog which is a Jack Russell in lifesize statue of its hind area and head buried in the ground, Flying Alarm clock that takes off when it goes off.

Have fun at the present finder.

Silo Breaker

This is bound to become a favourite site of mine. You type in a subject or news topic and it compiles a collection of news stories, graphs, related topics, biographies, etc to “break the silo” and show you a broader picture for your interests.

While I expect most results to be US-centric, I typed in FIVEaa and surprisingly it found a story run on this station after the Chasers’ got into hot water for their Make A Realistic Wish gag, a video of Keith Conlon and Fitzy boxing in a shed, and a list of topics covered generally by the station including Mark Williams, racism, Adelaide and asylum seekers.

So the site pulls news from the usual newspapers and journals, but also blogs, video and audio. For some stories it gives you geographical hotspots, trends and a network visualisation tool.

So gather your news from new angles with the Silo Breaker.

Sean’s Snapshot

A photo from Sean Perry’s odd photo collection around Adelaide – a new twist on taking the dogs out. What luxury!

Dogs on bike
Dogs on bike