Newsletter #018 • 19 December 2018
Customer Centric
The weekly digest for the customer-obsessed
Dear Earthling,

I’ve been down on my luck lately. 

My house keys have mysteriously gone missing; water keeps dripping from my living room ceiling, even though many attempts have been made to fix it; and earlier this week, my dog, a whopping 50-kilo creature, dragged me through the mud, and I ended up breaking my finger. 

The universe may be trying to tell me something.

On the bright side, all of this gave me plenty of time to read and think about the world (as a broken finger made doing much of anything else a hassle). 

So I hope you enjoy this week’s selection of articles with a warm beverage in hand while you prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

Fingers crossed for a happy holiday season,
🔖  This week's top picks 
🤖 May A.I. help you?
Will interacting with A.I.s mean atrophy for our social muscles? If they’re just machines, why bother with pleasantries? The scientific research on that is still unclear: some studies have found people can actually be remarkably cordial to robots, while other research suggests we’re liable to be rude and curt when we know our conversational partner isn’t human. We could get used to bossing things around, a behavior that could bleed into everyday life. Yet dealing with bots could also make life less prickly for humans on all sides of these small interactions.

A great analysis by Clive Thompson for the New York Times on how intelligent chatbots could automate nearly all of our commercial interactions — for better or for worse.
🤗 Finally, evidence that diversity improves financial performance
When managers and scholars talk about diversity’s impact on organizations and teams, they’re usually referring to the effects on collective accuracy and objectivity, analytical thinking, and innovativeness. On “harder” measures of financial performance, researchers have struggled to establish a causal relationship with diversity. But things are about to change.
📖 What a 19th-century French novel tells us about Jeff Bezos and Amazon
Meet Emile Zola’s Octave Mouret—a Bezos-like merchant/innovator created 111 years before Amazon sold its first book.
😩 How to make yourself work when you just don’t want to
There’s that project you’ve left on the backburner – the one with the deadline that’s growing uncomfortably near.  And there’s the client whose phone call you really should return – the one that does nothing but complain and eat up your valuable time.  Wait, weren’t you going to try to go to the gym more often this year?
👀 Jokes from the future
Comedy helps us make sense of the world. So to help make sense of the future, the New York Times put together a set of jokes told from the perspective of a comedian from the future.
💡 Speaking words of wisdom

Sure, the reality is virtual, but the struggle is real.

— Baratunde Thurston
Pssst, tweet me.
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