There was a competition in the Weekend Australian Financial Review last weekend (1-2 September) with a collage of 45 "key people in business" to be identified. I knew a few of them straight away, like Peter Beattie, John Howard, Kerry Packer, Allan Moss etc. But some of them were really difficult. I asked my boss, a few people at work, my flatmate, and my parents as well and they filled in some more. I searched using Google Images, Microsoft Images, Yahoo Images, Fairfax Photos, and NewsPix and filled in some more gaps. Allison from trivia pointed out one of them was Nicole Kidman in "The Hours". People at the chess club identified some mining leaders for me and also the "alter ego" -- the cartoon character from the AFR. But last weekend I still had four left. I started talking to random people and asking them. What kind of person would know who these people were? The business figures were mainly white middle-aged men, so I asked all the white middle-aged men I saw about the pictures (especially the tall ones in suits with glasses). Tall people earn more so would be more like the people in the pictures and more likely to know them. People with suits are more like to know businesspeople, and glasses because people who read more have glasses :) and I wanted newspaper-reading-type people instead of TV-watching-type people. I talked to lots of people like this on the street, on public transport, in coffee shops reading the Financial Review, and in the libraries. R also asked some people at a Rotary sausage sale for me.

With lots of effort on Saturday night I narrowed it down to two. Then I went to the State Library on Sunday to read lots of BRWs. I didn't get any more then, so I went back to the UQ library on Tuesday night to keep reading -- went through the 1997, 1999 and 2001 issues from 5pm to 10pm when the library shut. I got back home at 10:30 feeling kind of depressed. But then an hour later I had an epiphany and identified one more then trusted my parents on the last identification -- it was more like a choice between a few people rather than an "I have no idea who this is" person. It was fun... I learned lots about Australia's business leaders while doing it too. About indexing, renting vs buying, the stockmarket, how AMP used to be a good share to own before George Trumbull...

It's the kind of problem that cannot be solved by computers because they are no good at facial recognition and cannot be solved by programming, or search engines... like so many of my work problems. It's all about knowing people and knowing people who know people... kind of like facebook and linkedin :)

I also thought about my ability to go up to random people and talk to them. It is not difficult for me but J and R have said it is difficult for them. Their social conditioning in childhood must have been different to mine.


Post a Comment

<< Home