Summary: ''In Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger takes us on a tour of the rise of the miscellaneous. He examines why the Dewey Decimal system is stretched to the breaking point, how Rand McNally decides what information not to include in a physical map (and why Google Earth is beating them out), how Staples stores emulate online shopping to increase sales, why your children's teachers will stop having them memorize facts, and how the shifts to digital music and playlists are not j
ust transforming the music business but stand as models for the future of virtually every industry.''--BOOK JACKET.
Summary: ''In Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger takes us on a tour of the rise of the miscellaneous. He examines why the Dewey Decimal system is stretched to the breaking point, how Rand McNally decides what information not to include in a physical map (and why Google Earth is beating them out), how Staples stores emulate online shopping to increase sales, why your children's teachers will stop having them memorize facts, and how the shifts to digital music and playlists are not just transforming the music business but stand as models for the future of virtually every industry.''--BOOK JACKET. ...show less
Edition/Copyright:07 Cover: Hardback Publisher:Times Books Year Published: 2007 International: No
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Prologue Information in Space ''Absolutely not.'' I've apparently begun by asking Bob Medill the wrong question: ''Don't you put the most popular items in the back?'' He could have taken it as an insult, for it's a customer-hostile technique many retailers use to force shoppers to walk past items they hope they'll buy on impulse. But the soft-spoken Medill is confident in his beliefs. Besides, he's been asked that before. It's a rookie question. ''No,'' he says, looking out over the Staples office supply store he manages. ''In front are the destination categories because that's what our customers told us they want.'' His arm sweeps from left to right, gesturing to the arc of major sections of the store: ''Paper, digital imaging, ink and toner, business machines, and the copy center.'' It's two o'clock in the afternoon, but we have the place to ourselves. Even if a customer wanted to buy something, no one is at the cash register. If you need help with your purchase, no ''associates''Staplesese for ''sales assistants''are available. Medill is unconcerned. That's the way it's supposed to be. We're in the Prototype Lab, a full-sized store mock-up at the company's headquarters in an office park in Framingham, Massachusetts. The site has nothing of a Hollywood set about it. It's all real and fully stocked, from the twenty-four-pound paper marked on sale to the blister-packed pens hanging neatly side by side. Eight people work there full-time, which is less than a real store's typical complement of twenty-nine but still no small expense. Yet it's worth it because, despite the aisles of pens and the pallets of paper positioned by forklifts, the Prototype Lab is actually about information. Every day Bob Medill and his staff work on strategies to overcome the limitations of atoms and space so customers can navigate a Staples store as if it were pure information. That's not the way Medill would put it. From his point of view, the Prototype Lab is a testing ground for making shopping at Staples easier for customers. That by itself puts him in the vanguard of merchandisers. More typical merchandisers use physical space against customers so that customers will spend more money than they intend. It's a science retailers know well. Supermarkets stock popular items, such as milk and bananas, in the back of the store to take advantage of the way physical space works: To get from area A to aisle C, we have to go past shelf B, which just happens to have a sign announcing a special on something we didn't come in for. Likewise, you'll find doggie treats below eye level because it's something kids are more likely than their parents to put in the cart. When Medill talks about making it easier for Staples' customers to get out of the store fast, he's a bona fide revolutionary. ''Customers fall into two buckets,'' says Liz McGowan, Staples' director of visual merchandising. ''People who feel that asking for help is a personal failure and those who don't.'' Despite what comedians tell us, the dividing line is not based on gender. ''My mother is in the first bucket,'' she says. McGowan is data-driven, so she knows the precise volume of the buckets. ''Thirty-two percent ask associates. Twenty-four percent use signage. Forty percent already know where things are.'' It's the 60 percent who need help that determine the informational layout of the store. In the Prototyp
''The world is messy, like it or not, and it's only going to get messier as the Web destroys rules and rule-makers. You can either complain about the chaos and wish for the good old days of order, or you can buy this book and understand why delirious disorder will soon make us all smarter.''--Chris Anderson, author of ''The Long Tail'''''' ''David Weinberger attacks the complexity of the real world, not by making it simple, but by making it clear. Once he explains how things can be in more than one place at a time--and make sense--you'll never look at a humble index card the same way again.''--Esther Dyson ''From how information is organised, to the nature of knowledge and how meaning is determined, this book is a profound contribution to understanding the impact of the digital revolution.''--Richard Sambrook, director, BBC Global News'''' ''''Everything Is Miscellaneous'' is a rare and mesmerizing mix: one the one hand, it's an essential guide to latest information age trends, one that will be extremely useful for businesses and consumers alike. But the book is much more than that as well: it's a probing and profound exploration of how we create meaning in the world.''--Steven Johnson, author of ''The Ghost Map'' and ''Everything Bad Is Good For You'' '''' ''Just when I thought I understood the world, David Weinberger turns it upside down--and rightside up--again. ''Everything Is Miscellaneous ''explains the radical changes happening in digital information--and therefore in society as a whole.''--Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and chair, Wikia.com
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