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Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Problem with ACT

An Actually Quick Quick Take
We are a nation of immigrants and openness to newcomers is part of our national DNA.
~ The ACT Party on immigration
I have a lot of respect for David Seymour. He stands up for people and isn't afraid of biting the hand that feeds (i.e. National) when it does bad things. He's also well spoken and acquitted himself nobly in the Debating Society's Politician's Debate (I have not seen the Management Consulting Club's debate). He is also, at the moment, ACT. And ACT is right on the money when it looks at National's recent pronouncements about immigration and describes it as starting a "populist bidding war." I mean, just look at how Little immediately had to go BIGGER... as if more of a bad idea makes it better.

The thing with ACT is that no matter how much it says the right things about some stuff, it says terrible things about other stuff. (Voting for ACT is also a tacit endorsement of the Rotten Borough system created by the Coat-tail's provision but we'll ignore that today.) One only has to think of what Seymour's said about the Grammar Zone, Charter Schools (although, of course, we all know that was really just a National policy we were told was an ACT one) or introducing interest to the student loan system. For every socially responsible thing Seymour-ACT comes out with, there's surely another daft or even harmful idea just waiting in the wings.
A nation that values personal responsibility, tolerance, civility and compassion
~ ACT, on its vision 
Look, I'm not saying that "personal responsibility" (which we might understand as the overarching concern of ACT's combination of social progressivism and economic conservatism) is a bad idea. I am saying that it is a bounded concept. It is true that one needs to take personal responsibility for, as an example, writing boring blog-posts or being addicted to smoking. It is also true that one of the reasons why I might think my blog post is boring is that university's restricted word counts make me look for the freedom to be verbose and at school (where habits are formed) I was quite literally told that flair can't be taught. That might well be true, but style definitely can be (and traditionally was one part of one of the foundations of education in the "Western" tradition). Similarly, cigarette addiction is a reflection of a societal concerns around smoking, of the peer environment (smokers have friends who smoke) and of the nature of addiction (over-rides personal will). We are all not entirely our own. It follows that policies derived from a view that we are personally responsible will probably just as often be bad as they are good.
If anyone, no matter who, were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the set of beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably—after careful considerations of their relative merits—choose that of his own country. Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best.
~ Herodotus, The Histories
David Seymour has a task on his hands to build up ACT and while ACT's dubious ideological grounding is one of its problems, insofar as it means Seymour will continue to stand against the xenophobia, racism and scaremongering put about by Little, Peters and whoever else, it just may attract people attuned to "New Zealand's Values." And if that did happen and if ACT realised their mandate was thus derived? Well, that just seems like a very good thing indeed. But it's an if. Probably a very big If.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Immigration: Quick Take

Look, it's often really difficult to avoid calling people morons, dickheads, racists or xenophobic weeds. It's apparently even harder to avoid blaming immigrants for all the problems that people face. But both of these are immensely counter-productive activities. The one just makes people put up barriers to what you're saying and serves to entrench views. The other just obfuscates the issues and thus the solutions. 

The trouble is that the popularity of the latter makes the former really hard to avoid. And it makes for a massive problem in the current election because National's ideas are really quite awful but it's reached a point where the stances Labour is taking on immigration are beginning to become sufficiently bad. I don't want to have to make an electorate decision that sacrifices positive policies in order to try and halt the Labour-led march into a world where what NZ stands for is not any NZ I recognise.

What's worse about all this is that you cannot talk about this bind. Just mentioning that there are people I want to call xenophobic weeds (that this sentiment is not limited to Andrew Little) has pretty much the same effect as saying it. People aren't stupid: they know they're the targets of my anger, of my rational rage, or if they're not. And if you want to make an actual case about immigration's troublesome aspects, you're invariably excluded from certain circles and end up self-radicalising. There's a line in, I think, Jingo (which would be really useful because it deals with immigration) which makes the point that Colon had been to the university of "Some bloke down the pub." The internet is a great tool, but we're still people... and that doesn't change just because you're not talking around a pint. (And just because this is the internet and that I can therefore find a link confirming my suspicions about the quote, doesn't mean that I should... I feel like I lose authenticity.) 

Look, I feel strongly about immigration. My father naturalised and three of my grandparents were born overseas (all of my aunts and uncles were... my mother was born here, moved to the UK immediately, and then emigrated back "home" and developed a new, local accent) so it is a bit personal. Most of my friends have either similar backgrounds or were themselves born overseas (if not all). Like many New Zealanders I share our culture's Wanderlust but I still believe in the fair shot, in our indoctrination at school into the "treat others how you wish to be treated" (actually, I believe we instinctively move to respond to such norms)... and if you want the OE, you need to accept that your country will be a destination for someone else's OE. Is that not fair? Is that not right?

But, still, maybe you want to talk about the downsides of immigration. Maybe you have some model that proves new immigrants don't bring new demand and, hence, new jobs (there is no such thing as either job creators or "trickle down" economics and if you think there is, this is one reason why National needs to go). But, even allowing for the momentary period before anything can respond to "more people" what's going on? You're asking me to believe in several things:
  • That you want a career in the type of job suited to people on OE's and working holidays, i.e. high-turnover, customer-oriented. I don't believe you because the reason why these jobs are high turnover is that people view them as stepping stones... maybe even just experience before applying to supposedly low-skilled retail positions.
  • That employers don't prefer long-term employees because constantly hiring new staff doesn't increase their training costs. That is, if you're applying for a job that students might often go for, you really should be preferred because you're available for more hours and because you're not going to bugger off at the end of the year when you move back home. I don't believe you applied. And if you did apply, you really should have mentioned this stuff. If you did and you still weren't hired, maybe it was because...
  • That the job really is open for everyone. Now, I don't believe that people are generally munters and spend every spare moment getting high like some not-to-be-named politicians. I do believe that people don't look into immigration and don't realise that we're restrictive, that points do exist. And even when people talk about tightening the points, what they're talking about is often just as much looking at whether employers are over-selling jobs (i.e. requiring superfluous qualifications) as employees self-aggrandising (notice that pay thresholds catch both out).
But this the robot view of the world. What if the issue is that you're arguing that someone who doesn't need to worry about being kicked out of the country they call home just for having the luck of being born here or having parents who were ought to be prioritised always over and above someone who is trying desperately to avoid being forced to leave? What if the issue is that you're not after a career, just want a little bit of cash to effectively have a working holiday whilst not being on holiday (maybe while you're trying to find some more permanent accommodation than your mate's couch)? Why is it fairer to privilege you? You who, at least, can fall back on established networks of support? You whose parents,grandparents, cousins and whatnot are here? You who can rock up to WINZ? Why you with all these options? Why? Are you more human? Do you feel more real? Have you given up more?

At the moment, people are trying to talk about immigration in NZ as though we're suddenly overwhelmed by some sort of mass immigration. Context matters. What counted as mass in 1840 in a country devoid of all of the infrastructure we take for granted, is not mass now. We're living in an era where the government isn't willing to do what it takes. Back then the government took action and made stands. Sure, now we think that invading and evicting lawful landowners is an act of war or, at least, theft, but at least the colonial government did that. It still left everyone in the lurch, but it made the land available. The equivalent today would look like superior urban  (allowing greater densification) and tax (capital gains, anti-land banking measures, disfavouring "flipping" and incentivising new developments) policy... and the ideal would involve the government stepping in and building houses too. Tower blocks even. But this isn't what is happening. And it isn't what is being talked about because we can just go, "Lol, immigrants r bad".

When we look at what is happening it's a sad picture. All the opposition parties seem to blame immigrants for everything... even making it their centre-piece against a government that has actively opposed the interests and voices of a third of the population for nearly ten years. Surely there is something else to criticise them for! They haven't exactly done anything substantive outside of Auckland either! Even the government, lacking John Key's keen eye for making sure nothing was done, has got in the act. Somehow people who have been here for years are among the villains responsible for the mass immigration! Let's put that in perspective. If you've been in New Zealand for five years, you have been here for two elections. Five years is a long time. Would you want to be in jail for five years? Would being sent down for such a stretch make you into a hardened criminal? Why is that not long enough to be recognised as a New Zealander? Not necessarily a citizen, but a permanent resident. They haven't taken your job. You got back from Australia two years after they landed it.

We had great fun laughing at the US and all the people who said they'd move here if Trump was elected. What will we do? Where will we tell ourselves we should go? Madagascar?

Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Zombie's Guide to Installing R on Ubuntu

There is a how-to in this post, scroll down until the other bolded heading or ctrl-F for guide. If you're wondering what the rest of this blog is like, read the whole thing.

Paperweights : Misadventures in Consuming and "Computing"

Just after we moved house at the end of 2015 I decided that I should get another laptop. Not a new laptop but another laptop.

You see, the major issue with the laptop that I had at the time was that it was fairly big and heavy, i.e. impractical when I wanted (on those rare occasions) to bring it in with me to uni. (Incidentally, this was why my granfather had given me the laptop in the first place.) Thus, what was needed was something pretty small and lightweight. It would also need to have an hdmi port so we could use it to watch television (this was envisioned as the primary function).

Now, you might remember that I have taken a couple of marketing papers and one of the big things in marketing is the notion of involvement. Specifically, with high involvement purchasing* like what happens when buying a laptop is that you do some research. Basically this involves shopping around and trying to find the best product-as-solution to a perceived problem. The thing is that I am a very price conscious consumer and I had the terrible luck to start my search on the same day as a one-off sale. And like the dweebish consumer I am, the one-off sale convinced me into making a decision I should have deferred. I bought an HP Stream pre-loaded with Windows 10. (Apple was never in the running.) We got it a few days later.

These laptops are pretty small (11" or thereabouts) and come in bright colours. They also have next to no hard-drive space (like 28 GB) and are thus designed entirely for the Cloud. This stuff is all fine although I didn't really appreciate it until after I bought it. After all, what I wanted was something that I could use occasionally for uni work (i.e. just needed enough space for Word and R/RStudio) and which could use the internet to watch stuff. And so life was good, for a time. I even called the computer Light Blue, which I thought was hilarious. (And it was.)

After a few months or whatever I started getting memory warnings. Somehow there was less than a GB of space left? It didn't make any sense. But it turns out to be a pretty common issue. Whether or not I would have thought to check for known memory issues prior to my experiences with Light Blue is definitely a question to ask, but I feel like maybe I could have saved myself the memory trouble if I had started the search even a day later. Anyway, I found a solution... but I forget what it was.

Life went on and Light Blue was pretty much used exclusively to watch the great many different things we watch on things like TVNZ On Demand or play Youtube videos when we've been cooking. But then, after some months, I became aware that the memory was filling up again. And this time I couldn't find a way out of the fix. This was, I guess, when I resolved to install Ubuntu.

I've been aware of Linux generally and Ubuntu specifically for some years now. This is because on some of the websites I visit some of the other users are Ubuntu-ites and they talk about this in OS threads. However, I had never really met anyone who used Linux except this one dude who I don't know very well and who I haven't seen for over a year anyway. So, I decided to do some research about Christmas-time last year (I think I had finally decided to actually go ahead with my plan rather than having conceived it then). The results were clear. I needed to get two USB sticks and I should use them to install Ubuntu (as opposed to a different Linux system).

The idea was pretty simple. I would back up Light Blue as a Windows system on one of the data sticks and the other would be used to install Ubuntu. But I didn't do anything. That is, until today... the first weekend of the holidays and a few days after persistent crashes related to memory shortages. But it turned out that installing Ubuntu was the easy part (although I did have to do it twice, but this took like thirty minutes).

The truth is that I haven't changed what I need from a computer much in the last two years. Basically, LinuxBlue (I changed the name) needs to do exactly the same stuff as before. Luckily, Libre Office comes with Ubuntu and doesn't seem to have any major compatibility issues with Word (and if it does... copy and paste, am I right?). R doesn't come with Ubuntu as such, though. And installing it was a bit complex.

If you don't know what R is, you should find out. But basically, it's a statistical computing language (think like Python or Fortran but just for stats) based on S Plus, developed at the University of Auckland that is completely free. It represents the sum total of all my "coding" knowledge... and obviously I am a newbie when it comes to Ubuntu to Linux. Sadly, I think most people who want to use R on a Linux system aren't as end-usery as me... which meant it wasn't really clear how to get R onto the machine (RStudio was no problem, though). In fact, it was more troublesome than getting Ubuntu in the first place! Which brings me to the useful part of this blog:

A Beginner's Guide to Installing R on Ubuntu, by A Noob

Basically, we'll be following exactly what I did. So, start by following this link. All the stuff we'll be mindlessly typing was sourced from that helpful page.

The second thing is to go here and install RStudio. Don't try and open it because we haven't installed R yet so it won't work. Actually, you probably should try and open it (from "files") because that's what I did and this is a zombie's guide so we should probably follow the formula I used even if it is illogical. This is also your caution. Imagine that I am a moron. That's the level of expertise that went into the process you're about to follow (or read).

Next, go to the "search your computer" thing and find the terminal. Open it and type in, from the link:

sudo echo "deb http://cran.rstudio.com/bin/linux/ubuntu xenial/" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
Now, you can probably change the url but, as I said, I'm a noob, so I wouldn't try when I can tell you for a fact that just mindlessly typing the stuff in works.

That being said, you need to type in your password at this point. If nothing shows up and you're randomly bashing keys, just press enter and then type your password and imagine that asterisks are popping up.  Then hit enter and mindlessly type the following:

 gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-key E084DAB9
then:

 gpg -a --export E084DAB9 | sudo apt-key add -

At this point I got a warning message. I ignored it.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install r-base r-base-dev

After the first one I got a bunch of prompts so just read those and always go with the yes option.

After the second one I wasn't sure if it had actually finished working or not, so I decided to open RStudio... which worked this time. I then installed s20x and R330 because they're packages I remember using from courses I have taken.

Hope this helps!

(And I am hopeful my decision to explore Ubuntu resolves the memory issue that looked as if it was creating a $300 paperweight.)

*See my recent blog post here for why this is a problematic concept . If you're wondering why it seems so much more pro than my usual stuff that's because it is actually just an essay I handed in last year that I couldn't be bothered copying from to explain involvement properly for readers of this post.

Involvement, Motivation and Marketing

The following is an essay I wrote last year. I have put it on this blog as an alternative to explaining what involvement is all over again. This essay is on Turnitin so if you try and parade it as your own work, you will be caught.

Examining the Involvement-Motivation Relationship via the Crowded Marketplace
The contemporary consumer inhabits a world of variety. From common household necessities like toilet paper to luxuries like high-end fashion brands, there is an array of brand choices. Even in non-traditional products such online dating sites or tourist destinations, variety exists (Prebensen, Woo, Chen and Uysal, 2013). Indeed, it has been suggested that that consumers generally hold only a small selection of brands in mind at any one time (Conroy, 2014). To the organisation, such consumer choice represents a problem: how to attract custom, when any given consumer can select multiple alternatives? Yet, variety clearly does not prevent individuals from making consumption choices. Thus, the implication is clear: by understanding consumer behaviour a marketing strategy to solve this problem could emerge (Quester, Pettigrew, Kopanidis and Rao Hill, 2014). It is in doing this, that an organisation would come to realise that a consumer’s motivations are deeply intertwined with the involvement construct (e.g. Laczniak, Muehling and Grossbart, 1989; Prebensen et al, 2013). In particular, the organisation would recognise that by utilising involvement they could develop an understanding of how consumers differentiate between brands and products (e.g. Zaichkowsky, 1986; Kim and Sung, 2009).
At its heart, the involvement concept is about engagement. Thus, the literature has discussed message (e.g. Laczniak et al, 1989), purchase decision (e.g. Zaichkowsky, 1986) brand (Kim and Sung, 2009) and product (e.g. Richins and Bloch, 1986) involvement. Beyond this, no consensus has been reached in the past thirty years over exactly how to describe or characterise involvement (Zaichkowsky, 1986; Slater and Armstrong, 2010). However, several authors (Havitz and Howard, 1996; Slater and Armstrong 2010), have described involvement as “an unobservable state of motivation, arousal or interest, evoked by a particular stimulus or situation and has drive properties” (p. 95; p. 730), apparently following Rothschild (Slater and Armstrong, 2010). Among the many alternative conceptions, personal relevance is a frequent conception (Laczniak et al, 1989). Furthermore, it is apparent that involvement is recognised as a personal characteristic that varies with respect to a “baseline level” (Richins and Bloch, 1986, p. 280), given the situation of the individual (Richins and Bloch, 1986). This is the idea of enduring and situational involvement. Furthermore, it has been proposed that in addition to the individual and situational contexts of a person, the nature of the object itself contributes to their level of involvement (Zaichkowsky, 1986). In the context of art galleries, this has been empirically demonstrated (Slater and Armstrong, 2010). However, this does not mean that an object has an inherent level of involvement (e.g. Zaichkowsky, 1986; Richins and Bloch, 1986), nor that you'll notice this anti-cheating measure inserted here. In terms of cognitive and affective involvement, Kim and Sung’s conceptualisation expands the paradigm of involvement from simply considering the strength of connections to the type of connections: do parents select children’s pain-killers based on, say, efficacy or their bond with their offspring (2009)?
If one were to synthesise the literature, involvement appears as the extent and type of an individual’s engagement with an object, which varies situationally, given an object can be a situation, object or stimulus. As engagement is easily understood to depend on motivation, on ideas of the self (e.g. Prebensen et al, 2013), on risk (e.g. Richins and Bloch, 1986), on social webs (e.g. Prebensen et al., 2013) and other factors, this view of involvement captures much of the divergences in the literature. Importantly, it becomes obvious that patterns of involvement can exist, for instance that in general consumers are highly engaged with cars (Richins and Bloch, 1986) and that organisations can therefore operationalise involvement. In a definitional sense, then, it is clear that involvement and motivation are connected. After all, if one is motivated to organise a study space or replace a seasonal wardrobe, then one is engaged and, thus, involved with those activities and the ensuing purchases. In this sense, motivation is a cause of involvement (Prebensen et al, 2013). Yet, one might very well argue that if one is motivated to purchase a new computer, then that motivation exists only because one is already highly engaged with the problem. However, in much the same way that theory informs one that weight determines BMI, not the other way round, the nature of this relationship can be clarified.
Given that motivation is “the driving force behind all behaviour” (Prebensen et al., 2013, p. 253), academics have found it appropriate to develop models to explain motivation. One such model presents motivation as the result of push and pull factors, which drive behaviour in certain directions (Prebensen et al., 2013). Specifically, this means that the motives underpinning a given behaviour have causes external to an individual. As involvement is internal it must not be the cause of motivation. However, it seems reasonable that the aspects of an individual that influence the interpretation of these external forces are one in the same with those that inform the level of engagement. Hence, involvement and motivation are intertwined. If an alternative model of motivation, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, is followed, this could also be true. After all, in the Hierarchy belongingness and self-actualisation are recognised as core aspects of motivation (Quester et al, 2014). These ideas compare strongly with noted dimensions of involvement synthesised from scholarship (Prebensen et al., 2013). Significantly, a qualitative study of involvement in an art gallery context, found that it was difficult to distinguish between antecedents and consequences of involvement using, among others, “desire to learn” and “a sense of belonging and prestige” (Armstrong and Slater, 2010, p. 727) as antecedents. This seems to imply that the relationship of motivation and involvement is one of mutual influence: at least with respect to services, noted in that study to differ to goods. Certainly, the traditional conception of situational involvement posits that an individual can be motivated and, so, highly involved with a product in a situation but that this does not lead to a heightened level of enduring involvement: an idea demonstrated in an empirical study by Richins and Bloch (1986). I would imagine that your cheating is covered here as well, hence this further anti-cheating sentence. In any case, given the clear behavioural implications of motivation and its extremely close relationship with involvement, an organisation with an understanding of involvement would have knowledge that could be leveraged in the crowded contemporary market (Zaichkowsky, 1986).
To leverage involvement, an organisation would probably need to take into account the various kinds of involvement. As alluded to above, involvement is recognised to apply to a variety of objects: from products to messages to brands. It has also been established that there are different levels of engagement, typically referred to as high and low involvement, and that these can vary from a baseline dependent upon the situation. Zaichkowsky’s treatment of involvement (1986) implicitly discussed the potential of utilising involvement as a form of segmentation based on the high-low continuum. Intuitively, this makes sense. If patterns are identifiable and certain patterns are associated with different levels of engagement and if the level of involvement has implications for the interpretation of stimuli, it is fundamentally no different to gamers interpreting an advertisement distinctly to surfers. As noted, to an extent the relationship with motivation allows the inference that there are implications, as does the suggestion that goods and services, within product involvement, are distinguishable. Similarly, Zaichkowsky noted that consumers with different involvement levels interpret messages in different fashions (1986). Thus, another implication of involvement becomes apparent. This analysis can be taken further.
The enduring involvement of a particular consumer, with respect to a product, can be considered broadly equivalent to their relevant product involvement. However, if a situation arose, or was engendered, that altered their situational involvement, an individual’s involvement, at a given time, would be higher (Kim and Sung, 2009). For an organisation, customer contact can be considered an opportunity to engender a situation. Yet, consumers will also have involvement with the means of contact: hence, message involvement. This implies that an organisation can increase the involvement of a consumer with their product through manipulation of the message (Zaichkowsky, 1986). That this is a possibility follows naturally from the definition of involvement. Similarly, in the context of services, it is possible that communication with consumers is an aspect of the consumption of the service and thus altering the situational involvement leads to changes in enduring involvement (Slater and Armstrong, 2010). However, Slater and Armstrong cautioned that the nature of the specific service investigated, a world-famous art gallery, may have had further product characteristics which enabled this for many consumers (2010). The influence of involvement in consumer interpretation, the noted relationship between involvement and motivation, and the ability of organisations to manipulate both situational and, in some circumstances, enduring involvement are critical aspects of how involvement can be leveraged by firms. It is immediately apparent that an organisation that understands the predominant consumer involvement patterns relevant to their offerings has an improved ability to attract custom. However, cognitive and affective involvement are of particular relevance to consumer product and brand differentiation (Kim and Sung, 2009).
In cognitive involvement, the connections consumers form with products or brands are essentially rational (Kim and Sung, 2009). That is, they can be contrasted with the “emotional stakes evoked by an object” (Kim and Sung, 2009, p. 507). This classification of involvement functions like the previously discussed temporal and object class divisions in that high and low involvement states exist. Thus, it is possible to have purchase decision situations in which the consumer is highly involved but the involvement pattern is predominantly affective (Kim and Sung, 2009). A purchase decision situation refers to a moment of choice (Kim and Sung, 2009) and, as noted, the contemporary consumer generally faces a number of choices between brands. Yet, not all consumers are equally involved in brands (Kim and Sung, 2009), and there is evidence that in a low involvement situation, consumers do not assess the brand in communications (Laczniak et al, 1989). This naturally implies that some consumers, when they make choices, must favour product rather than brand features in their evaluations, whereas for others the reverse is true (Kim and Sung, 2009). To the firm, then, understanding whether the involvement patterns suggest predominance of product or brand characteristics in evaluation, and whether the connections are emotional or rational allows an accurate picture of the market to be built (Kim and Sung, 2009). Hence, strategy to preserve existing custom and gain more could be developed in a fashion aligned likely to influence behaviour (Kim and Sung, 2009).
This analysis has raised several points. Firstly, that involvement is essentially situational engagement with an object. Secondly, that involvement and motivation are so closely related that leveraging involvement is likely to affect consumer behaviours. Thirdly, that involvement can be leveraged and that leveraging involvement needs to account for the types of product and connections formed. Finally, it has been a running theme that understanding and leveraging involvement requires considering involvement patterns: that is, how involvement is generally manifested within the population. As a clear illustration, consider the beer industry. In New Zealand there are several firms and the product’s involvement pattern suggests predominance of low level affective engagement (Kim and Sung, 2009). Consequentially, one would expect messages intended to increase involvement, but also ones that emphasise the affective qualities of the brands. Simply recalling Tui billboards, Heineken soccer ads or Export Gold ‘thirst brigade’ campaigns demonstrates alignment of strategy in a crowded marketplace with the knowledge suggested by the involvement-motivation relation.
Reference List
Conroy, D. (Presenter). University of Auckland Business School (Producer). (2014) Effective Marketing Means Understanding Customers. [Webcast] New Zealand: University of Auckland Business School
Havitz, M., Howard, D. (1996).  How Enduring is Enduring Involvement in the Context of Tourist Motivation?. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, Vol.4(3), 95-99. 10.1300/J073v04n03_07
Jooyoung, K., & Yongjun, S. (2009). Dimensions of purchase-decision involvement: Affective and cognitive involvement in product and brand. Journal Of Brand Management, 16(8), 504-519. doi:10.1057/bm.2008.39
Laczniak, R. N., Muehling, D. D., & Grossbart, S. (1989). Manipulating Message Involvement in Advertising Research. Journal Of Advertising, 18(2), 28-38.
Prebensen, N.; Woo, E.; Chen, J.; Uysal, M. Motivation and Involvement as Antecedents of the Perceived Value of the Destination Experience. Journal of Travel Research, Vol.52(2), 253-264. 10.1177/0047287512461181
Quester P., Pettigrew S., Kopanidis F., Rao Hill, S. (2015) Consumer behaviour : implications for marketing strategy. North Ryde: McGraw-Hill Education Australia.
Richins, M. L., & Bloch, P. H. (1986). After the New Wears Off: The Temporal Context of Product Involvement. Journal Of Consumer Research, 13(2), 280-285.
Slater, A., & Armstrong, K. (2010). Involvement, Tate, and me. Journal Of Marketing Management, 26(7/8), 727-748. doi:10.1080/0267257X.2010.481868

Zaichkowsky, J. L. (1986). CONCEPTUALIZING INVOLVEMENT. Journal Of Advertising, 15(2), 4-34.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Organisation

I have quite a lot of things to do at the moment. I did one of them today. Well, okay, I didn't really need to do it. One of those things is to write a blog post, in the sense that it is important to me that I write at least one post a month. I've had a couple of good ideas bouncing around in my skull. This post did not evolve from one of them.

In year ten we had to come up with topics for our speeches. As I remember things I had two major directions that I wanted to take it in. One referenced Paul Henry's strange remarks about then then Governor General Anand Satyanand. The other revolved around a line from a movie: have a plan and stick to it. That's the more important thing today, but this isn't the only context that we need to be thinking about today.

Every now and again I read stuff about the Business world. A lot of these come from BBC Capital. To be honest, though, they kind of blend together, which is one reason why I am not, now anyway, tracking down either of the two I want to talk about. The first one to mention is about how to organise emails... the moral was: don't. The major issue with organising emails is that they don't actually help you find the emails faster: you can just search the inbox. The other one was also organisational, insofar as it contained the moral that tidy desks and workplaces aren't necessarily better workplaces. At least, that's what I remember. Indeed, I am convinced that their argument was that having to think about a messy system created an organised chaos in the mind. That is, that you think about stuff makes you more engaged.

Finally, prior to one my university exams our lecturer told us that essay writing is a stochastic process... or something like that. The point that he was making is that the ideas literally do just come to you, i.e. you need to leave the essay part of the exam until later and just note down relevant ideas throughout the rest of the thing. This way you can, towards the end, look at the list and impose some sort of logical structure on it. I didn't really do this, which may not surprise you when I have always been sceptical of exam-essay-planning and I am pretty sure I've written about this before (and, obviously, you're a dedicated reader and remember everything I've written here better than I do). In fact, basically the only thing I plan is immediate issues like what to do in a week out of the chaotic stuff that comes at me (apparently like a group of waddling ducks) and when, or it's course planning. I like course planning. I think, in fact, that it may be the best bit of the semester. I'm not even kidding.

Anyway, what I spent today doing was organising my Google Drive that the university has set me up with for life (cool, eh?). I never used to use it but I have always been the kind of person that people probably expected to be using the cloud. And, in some ways, I kind of have been such a person, insofar as I am addicted to emailing attachments of stuff to and from myself. Initially this was because I worked on things at school and home or at uni and home, but eventually it just became a habit. Now, I mostly use it so I download stuff at uni and name it there before filing it in the Drive and on my hard-drive. But I think I've explained this before. I probably didn't mention the vague-friend of mine who drove off with his MacBook on the top of his car and lost everything. There are two reasons for this. Macs are dumb. Don't use them. And if you think grey is pretty, go back to Windows 95. This is the 21st Century dweebs. Wake up sheep. &c. The other reason is that it didn't really change my behaviour. I probably started because organising stuff is a great distraction form the world of things you actually have to do... and it feels like it is is useful too. Awesome. You can psychologically convince yourself that you are not actually not working. Best. Thing. Ever. Totes. Not. Insidious. Procrastination. Nuh-uh. Um... anyway, last time this came up I had a picture.


See? Grey. Not a great colour. Not stylish.

Now, the thing with organising stuff in some Cloud based memory platform (whatever you happen to use), is that you can access it anywhere (with internet and a "device"). But really, it's just storage, same as ever. And the thing with organising stuff is that it's a great way of narrowing down where something is. And if you can't go crtl-F or whatever, that's the most awesomest, bestest thing in the whole wide world. Organised Filing Cabinet > The Beatles > Jesus > God. And when you can ctrl-F? Well, it's still better than having some sort of thing you cannot impose order on. It's great to be able to search, but I've done more than 20 courses... I might remember which course something is from, but I probably don't remember the actual thing itself. I may, in fact, require some sort of prompt. That is where filing still comes in handy. And in the context of an email, this doesn't really happen. After all, the sorts of things I am remembering are different. Maybe I am trying to think of something that is in a non-searchable PDF... if this happens in an email, my reference point will probably be the sender... i.e. search for the sender. At a certain point, it is just easier to have all sorts of files separated out rather than having to make sure of both (a) all files have unique names, and (b) all files are identified by the course as well as something more specific.

Now, my filing philosophy is very different to my workspace, as such. I'm a lot like that dude in that ad I remember from way back. You know, he planned to take over your desk my next quarter and the whole floor by the end of the financial year? Something like that anyway. I am spread out. I like to be spread out. But in my folders? Basically, as few files as possible. What's the difference?

Every now and again, you see something on Overheard about people who bring in their own laptop and then sit down in front of one of the provided computers and proceed to not use that. Some of them get logged off for inactivity. Most of them are pricks. But the point is that sometimes it is better to have a reference material on one screen and the actual work be happening on some second screen. A physical workplace has probably always embodied this ideal, which is why when I write essays I have all the readings spread out all around me. With tangible materials it is best to be able to grab the thing I want specifically, without having to bog myself down flipping through a nice and tidy compact stack. That is, we're essentially using our memories as the search function for a single unorganised list.

The thing is, sometimes it gets to be the case that the mess is too much. Maybe it makes it look like you have too much to do. Sometimes you just need to be able to control something... anything... and, conveniently, I am God in my room. And that's ultimately what all kinds of organisation are about: control. Yes, even OCD... in this case, it's the sufferer being controlled by their compulsion (obsession? I'd say whichever but I probably already sound more insensitive than I want to). The plan, of course, is simply another form of organisation... and while it is important to have flexibility and thus to not be too rooted to a particular course of action... have a plan and stick to it. There should always be a reason why that plan was developed. So, ask yourself, is the rationale still true? Or are you just procrasti-planning?