Thursday, September 27, 2012

Echoes of explanations past...

Not a rant today but just an admiring note.

I have written a bunch now and again about my son doing or saying clever things but my daughter tends to be less interested, so it is with suprise and delight that I report our conversation on echoes.

I do not know if you have come accross it but there is an urban myth that duck quacks do not echo.

I can positively identify it as an urban myth as I have heard duck quacks echo. Because of that my answer to "why don't ducks echo" is simply "they do". It is true, but there is more to truth than that.

I was walking Talitha and Theo to school the other day when we went under the rail bridge. There is not much of an echo there but there was enough that cries of "ECHO!" could soon be heard.

Now, as you might expect we (Theo and I) had a discussion about why echoes happen long ago so normally I just ignore the yells but today I decided to bring the urban myth up and see what they made of it. "People say duck quacks don't echo." I said. "Why do you think that is?"

My daughter looked up at me and said "There is nothing behind them". "sorry?" I said. "There is nothing behind the ducks to bounce on" she said gesturing a wave going out and bouncing back. I was a bit taken aback as I was not sure I had ever explained echoes while she was paying attention but it seemed a good answer to me. Just as good as mine at least.

So there you have it, why don't ducks echo?

 Well my three year old scientist says there is nothing for the sound to bounce off behind them. A good explanation creates understandng that give me such sweet moments. Now I just need to find out whether it was me or Theo who told her how echoes work.

I admire my daughter.

To see how this and the other things I mention are explained have a look at But Why? to see my new eBook as tested on kids in cruel experiments with ducks and bridges...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chomsky relied too much on generalisations and literal thought. He felt that contradictions in terms were of necessity outside our ability to conceive and to believe. This proves rather difficult to accept when we think of the use of oxymorons such as Jumbo Shrimp.
The human mind can associate meanings with
feelings and emotions and so explain meanings that are harder to express otherwise.
Anyone who has children will have looked on them the night before christmas and seen them sleeping furiously in an attempt to bring Santa sooner. It may be a contradiction in terms but it is meaningful as you stare down at them.
Chomsky took literal meanings and created a gramatically correct sentence and said that it did not and even could not possess meaning. That sentence was "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously" which he said was beyond anything we could take into our head. As a challenge it was irrisistable so I had a frivolous go at understanding Chomsky. Have a look and see what you think?

Rufus Evison

Friday, October 08, 2010

Rufus Evison is now posting business advice for start up companies at the start up blog!

Rufus Evison

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fallacious generalisation from the specific instance to the whole in order to create a sexist stereotype

Fallacious generalisation from the specific instance to the whole in order to create a sexist stereotype

Thursday, January 10, 2008


It is well documented that setting goals is a good first step to achieving success in whatever you want to do.

I set goals on 43 things for 3 main reasons

1) To ensure that goals are not lost
2) To keep goals at the forefront to my mind and to motivate their completion
3) To acquire volunteers to help fulfil the goals

On the 43T site there is a section on why 43 things, why not 10 or a hundred. The reasoning on there should mitigate against the feelings of guilt or failure, but only if the advice they give is followed. You should have a mixture of the serious and the frivolous. You should have some easily achievable goals, some harder ones, and a few ambitions you will not feel guilty about not achieving. The later will at least remind you about some things you feel are important. Too many goals and you will either get swamped or will lose the point. Too few and you may fill up with the big goals without room for small achievements to keep you enthused.

My goal to reform the education system has, as yet led to no concrete results but it has made me more conscious of related initiatives. This has in turn made me look to see if I can do something to encourage an initiative that I approve of to help education elsewhere (nutrition and education suggest free meals in third world schools, see elsewhere on the blog for a few more details). I like to think that it will lead to something concrete in time, but even if it does not it will have done some good.

Coming to point number 3, I did not intend this to be a reason for posting but it has been a side effect. While I was at college I saw that someone had punted from Cambridge to Ely in 1907. I was told at the time that it had not been done since. I thought this would be a fun idea, but I lost track of it over the years. Writing a list on 43 things brought it to mind, so I put it down as something for ‘one day’. This led to a friend who had built his own punt joining me in setting this up and making it happen. Setting a goal took something from a nice idea to a ‘once in a hundred years’ occurrence.

So there you have it, and my view is that setting goals is a useful way of turning thoughts into actuality.

Rufus Evison

I have not been keeping this up to date because I have been working on the Retail Media Blog for rather more of my spare time than I expected. Retail media are interesting and do seem to have ramifications in Branding, Sales and all sorts of places.

A while ago I put a goal onto 43 things about keeping my blog up to date. I have not kept this one current, but I think writing blog entries on Retail media for the Retail media Group is reasonable and counts as progress towards the stated goal.

Why? Because the purpose of the goal was not restricted to this blog, but was to get me doing more of the sort of things that blogging entails. Blogging is not an end in itself it is to cause me to do research (which as well as teaching me things hones my researching skills) and it causes me to write, so aiding my communication skills.

I currently run a few blogs, but the retail media blog has the most traffic. This is because it is useful to people and helps to define what retail media are, their advantages and disadvantages and how they are used. Oddly enough another of my goals on 43 things was to get a common understanding of what retail media means as the term was being used rather fuzzily. To this end I have been gathering info and learning a lot. Also it allows me scpe to help shape the industry.

Goals have a way of doing that. Setting a goal is the first step towards doing stuff.

Last year I had a goal to get a new and interesting job. I now have that job and am enjoying it. Unsurprisingly it is in an industry related to retail media. I do not actually work for dunnhumby Retail Media (dRM) but I sit surrounded by people who do and I work closely with the people who are deciding the direction of dRM. This provides me with some insider knowledge that will probably creep on to the blog.

Moving jobs was a big step for me, having been a serial entrepreneur for most of my working life. I had some sub goals that I needed to do on the way. If I am going to move from starting companies to working for someone else's then this must fit with my own life goals.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just a little post to say that as an experiment begun by Andy G I am now trying to get the term rufus Sexgod to appear on a google page. This is going to be a very half hearted attempt, but I feel it deserves a 30 second mention here.

Rufus Evison
Rufus Sexgod (Damn Andy G)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Guard your brand as it is worth money to someone

Mainstream: Domain Names, Branding

I just read Guy Clapperton’s article Master of your own domain about keeping control of relevant domain names. This struck a chord as I had recently come across a very well known brand who did not own a prime domain name that they clearly should have owned. I cannot name the brand, but I did get in touch with them and they now own the brand. The relevant piece of information was that there is a new service for domainers that is just being launched.

In this context a domainer is someone who had bought a large number of domain names and is sitting on them. Domainers can make money in a variety of ways. They can sell the domains at a premium; they can advertise on the domains, they can use the domains to act as advertising for related companies (e.g. make forward to a furniture company for a fee).

The new service effectively populates their site with relevant content. This has a whole slew of effects:

It means that the site will be better viewed by search engines and so may get more traffic.
It means that the site will be stickier so it will get more traffic.
It means that the site is actually justifiably relevant to the domain name so any companies with an interest in the domain name will have to pay more to get it as legal leverage will be lower.
It means that the site will be less cached and so will get more effective traffic.
It means that a larger variety of advertising can be put on the domain.
It means that better targeting of the domain becomes possible providing higher advertising revenues.

In the above I use the term traffic, but let’s be honest and say that what we are really talking about here is advertising revenue. The point on legal leverage translated into a compelling event which persuaded the brand owner to arrange settlement on the domain before things became harder and so more expensive.

While this service has just been launched I am also privy to another new development that has not yet been released. I am not at liberty to say what it is, but let’s just say that if you are responsible for your brand I would take note of Mr Clapperton’s suggestions and get your domain under control now rather than put it off just a little longer.

Rufus Evison