Right Brain – Left Brain Integration

right_brain_integrationLast fall, it was data-driven marketing I declared as the new black when I cited a recent NYT article glamorizing what had traditionally been the realm of geeky good with numbers types (like, ahem, yours truly). Data-driven marketers, it said, are a hot new business persona that looks something like Madison Ave. meets Wall Street: Don Draper meets Gordon Gecko. At last! Those who actually enjoy manipulating spreadsheets, know the difference between a mean and a median, love to talk about outliers and statistical confidence, experimental design and hypothesis-driven adaptive strategies could come out. “Hi my name is Bonnie and I’m a dataholoic,” I could finally admit—and become fashionable!

This fall, I’ve discovered that the right brain is the new black and I’m just as thrilled. “Hi my name is Bonnie and I’m a closet creative,” I can proclaim with dignity. What’s hot this year? Emotion, context and meaning. Story telling, passion, values and experience—all very right brain and very, very fun.

But wait – am I a dataholic or a closet creative? Could I perhaps be both? A great way to find out is to ask yourself is, “Do I think in words (analytical/left brain) or pictures (creative/right brain)?”

My assessment is that I am both. I had to stop and think when that question was put to me recently. I didn’t have an immediate idea as to whether my thought patterns were language-driven or pictorial. I was told that those who stumble over this question and hesitate to choose are indeed both—equally right and left brain oriented.

It seemed a tough pill to swallow. For my left brain, anyway. It likes definition, categories, simple and neat explanations. Pondering upon this, I lamented that I can never claim complete loyalty to either side of my brain, destined as I am to live in both hemispheres, born of mixed-hemisity, bi-hemisual (don’t you love coining a neologism? very right-brain), living half my consciousness in linear analysis, words, language and the other in non-linear synthesis, pictures, and possibilities.

But then my right brain remembered a catch phrase I heard a year or two ago, “We need to stop chasing either/or and start reaching for and.” And I realized: Being bi-hemisual means I can don which ever is in season—right brain or left—and look equally as fetching.

Right Brain Workout

right_brain_workoutSpeaking of right brain, I recently had the good fortune to work with an interesting social business, TeamWorks. Far outside my B2B marketing technology wheelhouse, the positioning and awareness building done for this cooperative business network was a welcome stretch for me and a rare opportunity to go full-on right brain with the production of a new video declaring for TeamWorks who they are, what they do and where they’re headed. I wrote, produced, directed and edited this 8-minute piece for an audience of potential donors and advisors—in two very full weeks—giving my right brain one mother of an exhilarating workout. Check Out TeamWorks on YouTube.

BTW: TeamWorks is a very cool organization in a burgeoning, dynamic and very interesting space: Social business. These are typically for-profit businesses, but guided by a social mission. In TeamWorks’ case, the mission is to reduce poverty. TeamWorks gives traditionally low-wage service workers an opportunity to get out of poverty by helping them to start and run employee-owned business cooperatives.

Right Brain Renaissance

right_brain_renaissanceIn A Secret History of Consciousness, Gary Lachman (among many other very interesting musings) muses that the Internet could be the harbinger of a right brain renaissance. The decisively non-linear, highly contextualized way content is displayed and digested online, he says, moves markedly away from its hugely linear predecessor, the printed page.

Language functions such as grammar and vocabulary have long been attributed to the same hemisphere said to control linear reasoning—the left. But because the way we consume information while moving across web pages involves not just language, but visual and audio cues across many more complex spatial relationships, it’s the right hemisphere that’s getting the workout when we go online.

What’s more, the right brain tends to kick in more when presented with novelty while the left takes over the more routine processes. With its constantly emerging nature, the Internet is nothing if not constantly novel, apparently giving more right brains more exercise since, according to Lachman, the advent of language.

The Internet has long since been identified as an economic game-changer, profoundly impacting not only product innovation, but employment distribution, shopping patterns, manufacturing priorities and, of course, social interactions. Could it be so all-powerful, so far reaching that it could substantially change the way we use our brains? If, as Lachman professes, consciousness and the mechanisms for learning are indeed one in the same, totally interdependent and constantly emerging, no doubt future historians will claim the dawn of the Internet era as at least as influential to man’s development as the acquisition of language, tools and agriculture.

BTW: Gary Lachman was the lead guitarist for Blondie throughout the 70s and 80s, now lives in London and is the tireless chronicler of culture, consciousness, mysticism and the occult.

The Zen Internet


  • The very transitoriness of the Internet is a sign of its perfection
  • To the mind which lets go and moves with the flow of change, transience becomes ecstasy
  • Rebirth from moment to moment reincarnates the value afresh each moment
  • To hold the Internet is to loose it
  • The Internet is miraculously natural without trying to be so
  • The pleasant and the painful are inseparable
  • To learn is to survive to become ignorant
  • The Internet essence is immediate and instantaneous
  • The ultimate reality of the Internet cannot become the object of knowledge
  • Living in the Internet is a constant awareness of watching
  • An awakening to the startlingly obvious may occur at any moment
  • Rigid control shuts out the experience of learning
  • Ends are achieved neither through repression nor indulgence
  • Regarding each new manifestation as our home puts us at home in each new manifestation
  • The Internet unfolds as we walk upon it


The Future Workplace


Very interesting podcast on the Future of Work from PRI as a follow up to a recent Time Magazine cover story exploring among other things, generational shifts in the needs and demands of labor.

Apparently Alvin Toffler was on the right track as far back as 1971 when in Future Shock he predicted a future workplace not of bureaucracies, but ad-hocracies. Of loose, impermanent associations between highly specialized individual contributors.

When I first read the book, I remember assuming that it would be the corporations that would lead the evolution toward increasingly complex, specialized networks of human resources. It seemed such an efficient, attractive prospect to the managerial mind. I don’t remember imagining that labor would be the catalyst for dissolving hierarchical institutions into interconnected resource networks. What would be in it for them? No retirement, no paid vacation, no management training, no career path.

But it turns out to be the preferred avenue for labor exchange among the young. Gen Ys are less interested in perks like health care and paid vacation and less interested in the long-term security of corporate ladder climbing – all the things corporate bureaucracies have traditionally provided. Looks like tomorrow’s work force will be negotiating mostly for increased flexibility, which smart employers will learn to use to their advantage.

Of course, a networked labor force only works if each individual contributor is strongly accountable. The good news is, lack of accountability has no place to hide in a management-labor relationship that is entirely pure. No perks. Just work.

That we can look forward to a more entrepreneurial workforce willing to take on more risk in ad-hoc relationships with employers is good. That we can look forward to a workforce who assumes personal responsibility by paying for their own health care, vacations and retirement is good. And that, by it’s very nature, this evolved workforce is more accountable – marvelous!

Sustainable Publishing Online – It’s a Good Thing

internet_tacosSurprisingly courageous remarks from Jonah Bloom at Ad Age about where the publisher-advertiser-consumer relationship is going in 2009. Noting that online publishing has outgrown the amount of online advertising that might support it, Bloom thinks publishers need to find new revenue models if they expect to survive. Site has been wondering about publishers relying too much upon ad revenue for a while now and is interested to see if Bloom’s predictions for the coming year pan out. As online marketers, we’d love to see endlessly expanding ad budgets. But as online business people, we’d like to see more creative—and sustainable—online business models that break out

Web 3.0: Show Me the Money

piDespite a sincere enthusiasm for all things Internet, Site can’t help but to have noticed a lot of over-valuation going on.

Site applauds recent news from Silicon Valley that increasingly scrutinizing eyes are being put to Internet-based investments. Most notably, VCs now seem more interested in investing in companies projecting non-ad-based revenue models, citing that Accel’s early investment in Facebook might not be repeated today given the social platform’s challenges with monetization.

Making money online is attractive because it’s extremely efficient and cost-effective if done right—not because it magically happens with when traffic or even market share get large. Potty-mouth notwithstanding, Jeremy Schoemaker makes a nice case for caution when counting your Internet chickens before they are hatched in his 7 Deadly Sins of People Trying to Make Money Online.

Making money online is smart. Making smart money online is even smarter. Cheers to the portfolio managers who see past simple site popularity and look for clean, predictable and short paths to profitability when deciding how to spend investment dollars.

Internet Marketing – Good News, Bad News

yin_jangFirst, the good news. For those who make their living online, an impressive 68% of advertisers plan to increase digital spending over the next 6 months.

Now, the bad news.

Passing the holidays in lovely Tucson, AZ, Site notes that although our beloved desert hideaway of 750,000 citizens has doubled in size in the past 20 years, its town paper, the Arizona Daily Star, has noticeably shrunk. With each passing year, the news recedes and the ad space grows. Site loves the Internet, but still can’t help but morn the waning of a great American tradition–the town paper.