Signal versus Noise.


Ask yourself: are you producing more noise than signal? And then ask: are you consuming more noise than signal?

It has become so easy for us to get dragged in all directions, our attention flitting from one post to another and one email to another. Online channels are like a multi-limbed beast with arms and legs that can reach around the world and that can touch us no matter where we are and no matter what the time.  

As leaders across mining, recruitment, technology and personal development, we simply cannot allow this. We’re going to need to exert more control over the beast if we want to stay effective and healthy – both essential for great success.  

So in the beautiful, reflective haze that is the period between the crazy end of the year and before I get back on the tearaway horse, two of my simple aims will be to think about:

  • How I improve my signal to noise ratio and
  • How I spend more time out of sight of the beast.

As you may know, I am a fan of marketing guru and author Seth Godin

He’s one of those few people who produces a DAILY blog. They’re rarely long but always make you think, often deeply, and they eloquently demonstrate the concept of “less is more”. In looking back over the year of Seth, I gathered together this collection of excerpts and quotes on the subject of signal vs. noise that might help this focus.

Signal to noise ratio

 “…when your message isn’t getting out is it because the world is too noisy or is your signal too weak? The internet is the noisiest communication medium ever developed at scale. And often, it has vanishingly small signal… When you give everyone a microphone, they might surprise you by using it, even if they don’t have much to add… Cut down your noise; improve your signal.”

Inadequacy on parade

“A never-ending stream of pictures. People who are prettier, happier and more confident than you, with weddings fancier than yours… jealousy-invoking status updates… advertisements showing us who we’d like to be instead of who we are… Gazing at all this perfection gives us a hit of dopamine… But, over time, the grinding inadequacy wears us down. It’s okay to turn it off.”

Media out of balance

Successful media that can make a difference, a connection, and possibly a living has four elements: attention, enrolment, trust and permission. Too often, particularly online, people just worry about the first one. It’s a race to go viral, go low, make noise. But attention is insufficient. Enrolment means your audience wants to go where you’re going. Trust earns you the benefit of the doubt. And permission means you don’t have to begin from scratch every time.”

Your corner of the sphere

To paraphrase Seth: “In working out what sort of business (mining, recruitment, training, airlines, whatever) you want to build, it’s tempting to seek to be brilliant at everything, all at once. The problem with this is that when you come to sell your ideas to others, that’s not how humans process your offering. Your iPhone might have good download speed, but it’s the design and fashion we pay for. Whatever your industry, pick one thing to stand out and exceed expectations in, while making sure everything else is good enough.”

So lastly to you all — friends, clients, suppliers, candidates, staff and families: Thank you for your contribution to MPi, and for reading my blog this year and whatever 2018 was, we wish you a golden 2019 kickstarted with passion, determination and optimism.       

Steve Heather signature
Steve Heather – BAppSc (Mining Engineering) WASM, FRCSA

Managing Director & Principal Executive Search - Mining People International (MPi)

Fellow/National Board Member – Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association Aust. & N.Z. (RCSA)

[email protected]