Gary Salton

Gary Salton, Phd
with Shannon Nelson (left) and Esther Wells (right)
Professional Communications, Inc. (I OPT)
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tottered on: 30 May 2008
Temperature: room
Ceiling: failed to observe
Ground: nice blue-gray carpet
Wind: calm

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TT with HD: Gary Salton with Shannon Nelson and Esther Wells

a3c green roof
Totter 2.0 on location at Professional Communications, Inc.
above Nickels Arcade

[Ed. note: For a view from this office looking down on the UM Diag, Professional Communications Inc. provides a great Ann Arbor web cam, refreshing every five seconds.

In the above image, light from windows on two sides represented a photographic challenge not entirely met by the twinkie camera HD uses to document teeter totter rides. It was subjected to a certain amount of post-processing, just so readers could see the basics of the configuration.

More on the I OPT matrix of information-processing strategies on their website.]

GS: Drinking coffee while on a teeter totter, first time I've ever done that!

HD: Okay, are you done with the coffee now, because I want to teeter totter up and down.

GS: That's okay! But I suggest that you involve them, because as I told you in my e-mail that I sent you, you'll hear different perspectives from both of them.

HD: Okay?

GS: She will be somewhat opinionated, and she will be conciliatory and reconciling.

HD: Okay. [laugh] So that's your prediction?

GS: That's the prediction. Depending on what questions you ask.

SN: Alright, now we're under pressure! [laugh]

HD: Actually, the first thing that I wanted to ask you about is the web cam?

GS: Oh, the one right behind you?

HD: Right, the one right behind me, which seems to be in working order again?

GS: Ah no, it depends on the light. There's a new one right there.

HD: Yeah, I noticed that there's a box sitting on the desk, and I thought maybe it was already unpacked and that was just the box, because it seems to be working fine this morning.

GS: Yeah, it depends on the light. In the bright light--the photoreceptors are damaged, it overwhelms the camera. We'll put another one in on Sunday.

HD: Okay, is that something you will do yourself, or ... ?

GS: ... I'll have an IT guy come in.

HD: So, whose idea was it to install a web cam? Because I have to say, as far as the Ann Arbor web cams that I have seen, it's one of the very best ones!

GS: Well, thank you!

HD: Not just because of the cool location, but also it refreshes every five seconds! So you actually get ...

GS: ... movement.

HD: The perception of movement, anyway, yeah. Almost.

GS: And we are on--what level line are we on?

SN: T1.

GS: We're on a T-1 level so at a T1 level that imposes no burden at all. At five seconds. I don't know why everybody puts it on one minute or 30 seconds. Five seconds, we are talking about 200 or 300K. It's practically nothing.

HD: Well, if it's just a landscape, like if it's a skyline shot, then you don't really need it that often, but for this dynamic intersection, it's great to have it every five seconds.

GS: Well, I tell you, I have talked to the university police, and there'd be no reason not to put these all over town. I mean, we are talking 200 bucks here. For a camera. I mean it's not a deadly kind of number.

HD: It's not cost-prohibitive.

GS: No. I mean you could stick them all over. And somebody could just watch the circumstances around Ann Arbor. When I get up in the morning in the winter, I walk to my computer and look at this thing to see what's happening outside, so I know what I can anticipate coming in to work.

HD: So you're talking about when you get up in the morning at home?

GS: Yeah.

HD: So you're not ...

GS: ... no, I don't sleep here! [laugh]

HD: No, I was going to say it's interesting the idea that you would look at your computer screen to look out the window instead of turning your head! [laugh]

GS: Oh, no. When I'm at home and it's snowing out, how bad is the traffic.

HD: So have you been contacted by the police at all? For incidents that they want to see if the camera happened to pick it up?

GS: No, but I have used it when we had some people beating on trash cans across the way, and I was waiting for a phone call from somebody. And beating on trash cans is not amenable to a professional presentation. I called them and I said, Hey, if you just go on the site you can see who is there! I talked to some lieutenant or other, and I said, You know, if you dispatch a car, you can watch them come. It's every five seconds, so I mean it's going to be jagged, but.

HD: Now when you say 'banging on trash cans' they were just doing that to be annoying?

GS: Yeah, they were high school kids. The pay-attention-to-me kind of people.

HD: So, back to the original question, though. Whose idea was it to install this thing? I mean, it's big fun, I have to say.

GS: Mine. [laugh]

HD: So, it was your idea? You're going to own that?

SN: Well, the initial idea was actually to point it at me. And I was opposed to that.

HD: Oh, you had a problem with that?

SN: I did, I did. I didn't like that idea.

HD: Huh.

GS: I had no idea.

SN: I said I was going to make rude gestures constantly, or things like that if that was going to happen.

HD: I was thinking actually, what possible symbolic connection there might be between having the web cam and the business that goes on here? Or is it just plain fun?

GS: Really the connection was promotional. That is on the OE site, that's the scholarly site. There is nothing sold there.

HD: That's the Organizational Engineering?

GS: Right. There is nothing sold on it. And so the thing doesn't change that often. And what the web cam does is give you a reason to come there, because you know there will be something new every five seconds. And so it gets you into the OE site. And then if you want to browse, or if you want to dig in deeper into the theory on the technology, it's there.

HD: So, do you guys archive the individual shots that are taken for any length of time?

GS: This? Oh, no. There are 3 million shots already since we put that in. There'd be nothing to it. I mean there is a 500 gig hard drive on the desk, and 500 gig would hold 3 million easily.

HD: Because I was thinking it would be entertaining, actually, for other people to use the web cam just to take pictures of themselves. So, for example, there is this Ride Around Town that the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition does every--it's the second Friday of every month. And we come right down North University St. and make a left turn and that would be visible on your web cam.

GS: Oh yeah!

HD: So if we had a way, I mean, would it bother you if we, say, we took those images off your website?

GS: Oh, no, not at all!

HD: And save them, and said Hey, that's us!

GS: Absolutely.

HD: Basically a view from two-stories up.

GS: Ross could set that up for you almost instantly. It's already on our site, obviously, all you would have to do is peel it off to your site.

HD: And when you say Ross?

GS: Ross Johnson. Derek's partner at Ingenex. I think it's Ingenex.

HD: Oh, Ingenex, yeah.

GS: When we hired him he used to be 3.7 Designs. We hired him for the web. Actually, he was the most expensive person we looked at. Shannon really picked him because he is good.

SN: He wasn't the most expensive person. He was more expensive than what we were used to paying for. But he was amazing and talented.

GS: I mean, who else can do a cartoon? When have you seen an animated cartoon on a website? That is obviously some creativity. Have you seen the newest one?

HD: I'm not sure which one is the newest one. I saw a lot of them.

GS: This is the one with her with a machine gun.

HD: I didn't see that one. [laugh]

GS: [laugh]

SN: [laugh]

HD: So, did you guys have to sit and pose for Ross the artist, or did he just work from photographs, or work from memory?

SN: He had met us, so he worked more from memory. It's supposed to be more characteristics--like my nose is very big and pointy which would define my pecking at details and whatnot. So it's things like that. And Gary looks like a mad scientist with a pipe all the time. Esther looks pretty normal.

GS: Esther is the normal one here. Although you would never know her husband was a rock star.

HD: Is he really?

EW: He's a rock star? He's in a band.

HD: Oh, yeah? Which band is he in?

EW: Descended From Thieves.

HD: See, now you should have said that immediately: He is in a band, Descended from Thieves--you've heard of them haven't you?

GS: [laugh]

EW: [laugh]

SN: [laugh]

HD: That is the way you plug your husband's band.

GS: Actually, she refers to her husband as 'sweetie pie' so I have been trying to get her to change the band name to Sweetie Pie and Descended from Thieves. I thought it would be catchier.

EW: That's actually Gary's pet name for him.

HD: So you don't actually call him that?

So, you know, I didn't watch every video that is on your website. But the one that I did watch, it really resonated with me, because it's the one that introduces the whole concept of the I OPT matrix, and it introduces--I guess it's the Reactive--what's the name of the ...

SN: ... Stimulator?

HD: Reactive Stimulator. With the motorcycle. So the problem is to illustrate each of the strategies, moving a load from point A to point B. Which is something that I am all about!

GS: I've noticed that on your website!

HD: Yeah, so I knew this is going to be an example that I could really sink my teeth into. So the Reactive Stimulator says the first thing that comes to mind, and the icon for that is a motorcycle.

GS: Mm hmm.

HD: So you get something fast, it might not be the best way, but it gets done fast. In the next strategy was, it was the UPS truck, so that was the Logical ...

SN: ... Logical Processor.

HD: Logical Processor. Okay. And then let's see, it wasn't a vehicle of any kind, it was just ...

GS: ... no, it was just an analysis.

HD: An analysis, a spreadsheet.

GS: Figuring it out exactly how to do it.

HD: Right, the Hypothetical Analyzer. And then the next one was the ...

GS: ... rocket.

HD: Right, yeah, let's invent something totally new, let's use a rocket. Which was the Relational ...

GS: ... Innovator.

HD: Okay, so I was thinking, you know, would it kill you to have as an example somewhere in there a bicycle with a trailer?

SN: [laugh]

GS: I'll put one in!

HD: I'm thinking that, you know, you know instead of identifying the bicycle and the trailer with any one of those particular strategies, that what you could do is say, Four people using each of these strategies would together come up with the optimal way, the very best way, which would be a bicycle with a trailer.

GS: [laugh] I'm struggling with this!

SN: [laugh] Why can't we do a cartoon about Dave hauling something on the trailer?

GS: Get a picture of him so that we can make a cartoon of this. We'll figure out something. Something is going to happen during this conversation, we'll get a cartoon out of ths. [laugh] Here is Dave with his RI [Relational Innovator]--by the way for your blog readers, Dave is an RI [Relational Innovator]/HA [Hypothetical Analyzer], so he's an idea generator who thinks about it a lot. And that is what he just did. He connected a graphic on my website with a means of transportation he uses everyday, and there was no logical connection between those, except they happen to be wheeled vehicles.

HD: They happen to be what?

GS: Wheeled vehicles. I mean, obviously everything is connected to everything else in the world--that's why statisticians use p less than 5% as a standard, because everything is connected to everything else. And that's what we were talking about prior to this--I can find precedent for anything. That's a good example of what you mean. Connecting different things, which probably is one of the reasons that you are effective at this kind of exchange. Because you can make connections between different answers.

HD: You know what, I was taking this survey instrument--I think this is probably against the spirit in which is supposed to be taken--I'd guess you're supposed to take each question in order and then evaluate it unto itself before looking at other questions.

GS: It doesn't matter.

HD: Okay. Because for some of them, you know, I would agree, yeah, all of these things would describe me. Picking the one thing that would best describe me out of four, sometimes that was difficult, so what I would do is scan farther down the page and say, Okay is there any chance that if I don't pick this now that that characteristic will be represented later, so that I would be willing not to take that characteristic for this question, if later on I knew I had an opportunity to get that represented. But for one of them, it didn't really matter, it was 'playful'. I don't even remember what the other things were. But I thought, Okay, if I don't choose 'playful' than what am I even doing taking this?

GS: [laugh]

HD: I had to choose 'playful'. So for that one I didn't really even consider the others.

GS: The whole survey is designed, you could spend five minutes on it or five hours, and you'll get approximately the same result. You might get one question different.

HD: So are there different versions of the instrument, like different 'forms'? In the area of testing, they talk about different 'forms'?

GS: We don't need to go into the statistics of it, but basically what you've got is you've traded off things. So it asks you, I like action. It asks you that multiple times, but it asks you against different alternatives. If you just do the simple mathematics of it, you've got a 24-question instrument, you've got four axes on the basic theory to follow. I've tested you six times for every axis. So if you were to go through it again, you might get this one where this answer is different from another answer--it would be compensated for in other places. Because I've tested you repeatedly on that. It also gives me a ratio measurement with a wide interval, because I've only got 24 questions. But it's a ratio measurement.

HD: So is there a longer version if you wanted to get even more precise?

GS: No, remember where we use this, we use it in corporate America. The people who are taking this thing are presidents, vice presidents, expensive people. So the cost of the instrument itself is material. I used to be a corporate vice president, and if someone came into me, and I had the corner office ...

HD: ... you mean, like you've got now? [laugh]

GS: Yeah, but. If somebody in HR came in to me and gave me a 100-question survey to fill out, I'd throw them out. There wouldn't be any discussion about it. You know, Get out! And so what we did is we made it a five-minute thing. And it is accurate. If you read the validity study on the blog site, we are talking accuracy here are that far exceeds that which is typical in this kind of work. It meets every academic standard that I know of.

HD: You know, a lot of the testimonials reflected this kind of astonishment at how accurate it was.

GS: Ask her about that. About flies on walls.

SN: Yes, I take on a lot of the 'coaching'--for lack of a better term--with teams and consultants, and all I will know about the team is this [survey analysis], and I will make predictions and I will talk to them about what I think is going on in that group. And they will accuse me of having a crystal ball, or spying on them in the form of a fly on the wall. How many meetings of our have you been at??!! And they're in Japan, so there's no way I as there.

HD: Was this a Japanese group or Americans working in Japan?

SN: Americans working in Japan. But I've had that happen dozens of times.

HD: I would think that having a web cam probably feeds into that, right? That you guys are actually watching people and studying them! [laugh]

GS: By the way, I slowed down, do you want me to put some oil on this thing?

HD: You know actually what I think we're hearing, this nautical mast-type squeaking, is the metal pipe rotating inside the wood. I don't think it's metal against metal.

GS: I was just wondering about that.

HD: Is it bugging you?

GS: It's just that it might be interfering with your [sound] pickup.

HD: It does somewhat, but.

GS: I know this is part of the routine. We can discuss why this works by the way. Why the teeter totter works. I know you've thought about it in metaphor. But think about it in terms of information processing. Now I've noticed that some of the people--I won't name names on it, but several of the people ...

HD: ... oh, why don't you go ahead and name names and I can redact them out!

GS: [Name1]

HD: Oh, [Name1].

GS: As I read his, it seemed defensive. At least from the text.

HD: Huh. Do you think that could've had to do with the fact that he was [Concept1]?

GS: It might have, but why was he [Concept1]?

HD: He had [Concept2]! [laugh]

GS: More than likely, Shannon would be uncomfortable here. Because what you're doing is you are introducing random inputs to me and I have no problem with them, just like you have no problem with them. I can take random inputs. She doesn't like random inputs.

HD: Would you agree with that statement, that you don't like random inputs?

SN: He probably has not once thought, What happens if I fall? How will we get it up the stairs? How is this going to happen? Whereas, I've already thought of what happens if he falls.

HD: What would happen if he fell off?

SN: It wouldn't be the first time!

GS: Tell him about the ladders.

HD: There is a ladder story?

SN: There is more than one story like this. But the ladder story is Gary Salton is on the ladder--you know the part that says Do Not Step Here?

HD: Oh, or Not a Step? So this is a stepladder then.

SN: He steps on it, and breaks the ladder, and then he falls. And then he gets another ladder and he figures it must have been a fluke, and then he steps on the second one.

HD: So you went out and you bought another ladder?

GS: Yeah. Well, it wasn't quite high enough, and I was reaching over and I was putting some weight on it.

HD: Why didn't you buy a taller ladder as long as you were buying one?

GS: I can't remember.

HD: So you wrecked a second ladder?

SN: Absolutely.

HD: Did you hurt yourself?

GS: No. I never do. Maybe a little bruise.

SN: He hurts himself, but not enough to, you know. And he forgets things very easily. Oh, you're faster than the speed of light.

GS: I'm not faster than gravity, I know. That was when I had a big blackboard over there.

SN: He was hanging a big blackboard.

HD: Is that a blackboard??

GS: No.

HD: Actually though, at first glance, I thought, Oh well that's a slate blackboard, because you can't find those anymore, a real slate blackboard.

GS: It would be difficult, you'd have to go to a school that is being torn down is where you'd find those.

HD: Hmm, where were we?

GS: She was telling you that what happened was, I was holding it up, and the screw I needed was over there by the screwdriver, so I figured I could, you know, it takes time for principles of leverage ...

HD: ... so you thought maybe you could grab it quickly and then ...

GS: Yeah. It hit me on the head.

HD: So this happened on site here?

GS: Yeah.

HD: So you witnessed it?

SN: No, I didn't witness that one, I think it was after hours or on the weekend.

HD: So who did witness it?

GS: It came up the next morning when she asked about the dent in the blackboard.

SN: And then of course, I always tell him don't do things like that alone, because I know that something is going to happen. He's lucky that he didn't screw something into himself.

GS: I'll share an experience that is relevant to you--the HA [Hypothetical Analyzer] part of you, the thinking part. I'm sitting at home and I've got this bag of M&Ms on the coffee table. And I had an HA moment. It was a big bag you know of M&Ms. And they flopped over and they started spilling on the floor area. Now, normally an RS [Reactive Stimulator] would just whack the thing back and try to save as many of the M&Ms as he could. But I had this HA moment and I found myself sitting there deciding which is the most efficient way of stopping the M&M's from falling on the floor, and it literally took me a second.

HD: And what was the most efficient way?

GS: There really wasn't one. I mean, you could catch them like this, you could move the bag, there were options. But the idea was I caught myself analyzing a situation that really demanded instant action. Normally I'm instant action. But here, for some reason, I'm in Esther's mode of thinking about things. And it's a good example of where an inappropriate style is applied to a particular problem. At that time my natural or most dominant style of RS, which is any means at hand, should have been applied. And I didn't, I applied HA, and in the process more M&Ms got on the floor than otherwise would have. Obviously it was nothing important. But the same thing happens in real life.

HD: When there's more at stake than M&Ms.

GS: Yeah, the same thing happens, which is why if you look at--and I'm looking at them now--at paramedics and emergency response people, they are all action-oriented. You don't want a paramedic sitting there diagnosing--you want your heart started. You want breathing to start. You don't care why!

HD: You don't want a guy thinking about, Hmm, I could make a better defibrillator ...

GS: [laugh] I almost fell off the teeter totter!

HD: Well, that's never happened before. And I am very proud of the safety record, so I hope you don't screw it up.

SN: I thought your wife fell?

HD: Well. That was not an official part of Teeter Talk.

SN: And wasn't there a dam incident as well?

HD: A dam?

SN: A dam? Or a bridge? A dam incident?

HD: Oh yeah, an incident on top of the dam. But there again, I mean, she emerged later unscathed, I heard reports that she was fine. So I am also not counting that. And since I am the one doing the counting, it's still a zero.

GS: You own the blog.

HD: But back to this notion, that this instrument really does surprise people with what it says. I have to say when I was taking the thing, and it's asking you to choose between A B C, and D, and one of them is 'playful', then I'm expecting the analysis to be something like Oh, it seems that you are ... playful. That's sort of what my expectation level was. That it was basically going to ...

GS: ... regurgitate?

HD: Yeah, regurgitate. It's gonna tell me the same stuff that I already told it explicitly. But then the analysis came back, and there was one line that really resonated with me, that had nothing to do with the instrument questions. It said, You will unlikely respond to emotional arguments. And I thought, Yeah that's pretty much it. If you want to not convince me of something, start crying, because I'll be just like okay, I'm not even going to deal with you until you stop crying.

GS: Ask her about emotion and how she handles me.

SN: He is high emotion with everything he does. And if he is very excited about something, We should do this it's going to be great, you know and I'll say, I really don't think that's a good idea! he will not hear me. I might as well say, 'I have to go use the bathroom now'. But if I say, Absolutely not! and I have arm gestures and voices, then he can hear me. It doesn't matter if I'm using a negative emotion or a positive emotion, I just have to engage in that so that he can hear me.

GS: Listen to what she said, Dave. Because this is important. I won't hear her. It's not that I ignore her. I won't hear her. And so I won't take into account that input unless I has an emotional valance around it.

HD: Whoa, whoa!

GS: That's twice! Well, you should have a handle! It's a deficient teeter totter!

SN: The dangers of an RS [Reactive Stimulator] on a teeter totter, he uses his arms to talk. He talks with his hands.

HD: Yeah, he does!

GS: And by the way that is one of the indications of a person using an emotional strategy.

HD: Gesticulation?

GS: Arm gestures and a variation in voice. Which from your linguistic background is relevant. It's not only what you say in terms of the sounds that you emit, but in the intensity of the sounds and dimension and variation within them that conveys meaning. And that's part of the way I convince you--although I am quite equipped talked statistics and everything else--but really what I do is I try to convince you of my commitment with my emotional expressions.

SN: And when he uses emotion with me, it's just the exact opposite.

GS: It's like hitting a wall.

SN: Yes. It's all of a sudden I can't take him seriously because he's not using any kind of logic, he's just excited about something, or he's angry about something. And I just shut off.

GS: And we know this about each other. And we still have problems. But, we have a very efficient ways of correcting those problems when they arise. They will arise no matter what. I mean, the fact that she is highly committed to a disciplined strategy, and that I am committed to a more spontaneous strategy is bound to generate conflict. Conflict is not something to be avoided, is just the way you resolve it. We resolve in a matter of seconds. It still occurs.

SN: [laugh] Gosh, not when you are an LP [Logical Processor]. To an RS [Reactive Stimulator], maybe it's been resolved in a matter of seconds.

HD: [laugh] [laugh]

SN: She laughed before I did.

GS: Before we're done, you got to drag something out of Esther.

EW: I'm just fine, Gary.

HD: Well, you know you mentioned [Name1] who was on the teeter totter, has this technology ever been applied in government contexts?

GS: Yes. In fact, Peoplegro, from Dearborn, is a consulting firm ...

HD: ... what is the name again? People ...?

SN: Peoplegro


HD: Just one word?

GS: Yeah. They used it in Dearborn, they kind of specialize in governmental consulting. They're doing Ann Arbor now. The Department of Public Works, I think.

HD: Are they really!? And they're using the I OPT technology?

GS: Yep. And they're having a lot of success. Now obviously we are only tool builders, so we just take people's word for it. But when they do one, they'll stop by we'll ask them how it's going and apparently it's been very successful. It's happened before with a major auto supplier, a first-tier auto supplier. This is not a Peoplegro story, but the same kind of thing. Where one of the guys on the committee--this was the executive committee making big decisions--looked like Shannon, and the rest of the guys looked like me.

HD: You mean profile-wise.

GS: Profile-wise. And literally they were considering demoting or firing him. Because he was always the wet blanket. Until the consultant involved pointed out that, Hey you've got seven guys on this team all with their foot on the accelerator, one guy with his foot on the brake. Do you think you need a brake? And literally lights went off. It's Holy cow, yeah, we would've gotten in trouble, back in this other decision if he hadn't thrown in what we considered to be a wet blanket. And literally it changed the whole dynamics of the committee. And they were still seven guys who look like me and one guy who looked like her, but they tolerated him more. And by the way, the same thing works in reverse. If you have seven people who look like her and one person looks like me, you get the same dynamic.

HD: I mean that's a situation where you have an existing group of people who are working together, and you use this as a diagnostic. Is it also ever used in order to actually put together a team?

SN: Yes.

GS: By the way I am deferring to her because she handles most of the operations. I'm in theory, she does work.

SN: Yeah, it's strongest with engineering teams. So we'll have a situation where we'll have maybe three people existing on the team. And they're bringing in new people. And they've got 10 possible candidates and they need to pick three and everyone is qualified, they'll use I OPT to match. You know, we need more of this or less of that. Because you hire in your own image, you tend to track what you promote, so the same thing happens with I OPT. So you might end up with a biased team, maybe all Perfector, and they need more action. That kind of stuff, and then they know going into it, too, what kind of problems they are going to have. Right off the bat.

GS: And then you can compensate. Once you know a problem is going to occur, you can compensate for it. You don't have to avoid it, you just put a damper on it.

HD: I think it would be interesting to apply that team building concept to city council elections. So you know there's going to be a certain number of people, half of them are not up for election, they're going to be there. And then you've got the other ...

GS: ... I would probably be willing to do that for nothing!

HD: Oh, yeah? So what you would need, is you would need everybody who is not standing for election to take it, and then all of the candidates, then you might vote based on who you think is going to be a better fit to the other people you estimate who are going to be on council. I mean of all the ways people decide to vote, it strikes me that that's not an unreasonable way to approach it.

GS: But you can do it in other ways too. I won't mention the city, but we had a city where the consultant was well-respected and he did the city council and the mayor. Because they were in fights like anybody else--I want to do this, you want to do that, that kind of thing. And what they did was he's literally presented it in open session. In other words, Here are you guys, here's the mayor, here's the city council, he presents it in open session and then the city council retreats to a restaurant, and they spend the rest of the evening sorting it out between them.

Remember, we are all reasonable people. You can solve any given issue--any issue you can think of--you can solve with any one of the styles. So there's no dumb people here. It's a matter of me integrating myself with her or with you. So if I know what she is expecting, and what she needs to make a decision, it is in my interest to give it to her and it's in her interest to tell me what she wants. Same with you. So once you know a lot about it a lot of the problems just disappear. The human is a smart animal. They will fix it themselves if they know about it.

SN: Using any kind of tool like ours--I won't name names and promote our competition ...

HD: [laugh]

GS: ... our competition? I didn't know we had any.

SN: For something like what you're talking about, I OPT, it changes, it's a preference. You prefer to process information in a certain way. People do change over time, so it's not stable. What we see in corporate America in leadership is that the more they rise, the more the profile shifts to favor a certain style and pattern. And the same thing would probably happen after four years in an elected position or whatever. Their environment controls your profile and could easily shift. A person could come into the city, which is fairly conservative--we like like to think that we're not, but it is--you could go in being an idea generator, and very excited and wanting change and a big vision, and three years later, after the environment has controlled them ...

GS: ... be careful, though, because you really don't go to the opposite side. For example it your case, it is very unlikely that you would ever adopt a spontaneous strategy like I have. It's too much different. What you'll do is shift between adjacent strategies. So if I put you in another environment and your analytical technology didn't work, what you would most likely do is shift to RI [Relational Innovator] and start generating ideas and redefining the situation. If that didn't work, what you would probably do then is switch to her style, which is structured action. Because the structure plays on what you already do. You use a structured thinking pattern. And so it is cheap to go over there.

So yeah, you can move anywhere, and theoretically you could move to RS, but certainly in the course of four years it would be unlikely. It's more likely to be a shift from what you already have.

What Shannon is mentioning though, which is worth noting, is that I OPT is not a death sentence. It is not a thing that cannot be changed. It looks at you as an information processing organism. You live in an environment and the environment that is relevant to you is an environment of people. And so what you are going to do is choose strategies that get you whatever you want in the environment you exist in. And so if you keep hitting your head against a wall, you know, every five times a day, sooner or later you're going to learn to shift your strategy. So there is nothing fixed about it because it does change. That's what happens across the street from us. Kids going to college.

HD: Oh, at the University of Michigan, right.

GS: They're coming out of their adolescent years, they're going to college, what do they see? They see guys like you! That's the role model!

HD: Let's hope not. Well listen, you mentioned my wife falling off the teeter totter, and you expressed a wish that my wife complete the survey as well.

GS: It would be interesting.

HD: Yeah, well, I was thinking actually it is that might be interesting, but it might be a good idea.

GS: It depends on how much you value your marriage. [laugh]

HD: [laugh] Well, I mean I guess from my end things are fine, and I guess I imagine that a lot of organizations that use this technology, it's not just because they're curious, it's because maybe something is not working as well as it should. So the choice to use the technology to some extent at least reflects an acknowledgment there's something that's not optimal going on. So I figured that I wasn't even going to tell her about it, because I figured that I just didn't want to introduce that unknown, that unpredictability into it, even just for fun. Because I imagine it might go down the road of, Oh, the only reason you're doing that is because you are a Logical Processor. So I didn't want to have our interactions based on on these labels. Not that it's a bad thing--actually from my observing you guys, I mean you do interact ...

GS: ... except for her, she isn't interacting, she just sits there and judges us. [laugh]

HD: Well, you know, some of it is joking, but it does seem to work. I mean, using the vocabulary of the different strategies seems to be a way that you guys are able to interact in a productive and positive way. But I'm not so sure that my wife and I would be able to pull that off. Seems like it would be very easy to lurch into the, Okay, Mr. Hypothetical Analyzer, ...

SN: That does happen. But it is used in some marriage counseling--Catholic charities and ...

GS: ... across the street here, too. I was telling him before we started that the Congregational Church. When you think of marriage counseling you think of emotion, intimacies. All we care about is who does the checkbook. It's the mechanics of marriage. And believe it or not, the mechanics of marriage matter. That can give rise to emotion. I can tell you a story from my own life, one that she is fond of mentioning. My wife is in Boston now at Beth something-or-other, one of Harvard's hospitals ...

HD: Beth Israel?

GS: In any event, it's one of the big hospitals in Boston, and she gets back and stays here at the house, obviously, and all of that, and she came back, and she is an LP [Logical Processor] like Shannon is, they don't forget. Ever. [laugh] I can't remember what the situation was, but it was like she was going up the stairs and she responded instantly, on a subject that was 30 years old, and it was with as much passion as when it first happened. Try to go overcome that! And I'm sure that Shannon can testify that LPs just don't forget. I forget five minutes from now, I won't remember a thing about it.

SN: We had a fight yesterday he couldn't remember what the fight was about.

GS: What fight? I didn't know we had a fight.

SN: We had a fight yesterday about something he said he wouldn't do, and he didn't remember saying he wouldn't do that.

HD: And he went ahead and did it anyway?

SN: No, he didn't do it, I caught him before he did it, but we had a fight about it before ...

HD: ... two of you now? What, Oh you're just switching!

GS: I'm going to the bathroom.

HD: Oh, okay fair enough. We'll try to talk only positive things about you while you are gone.

SN: The other areas of government where this is used are the EEOC. And the FAA has used it, not so much recently.

HD: The FAA is the Federal Aviation ...?

SN: Aviation Administration. And EEOC big-time, though. For quite a few years. That's a good one to have with a tool like this, because people get so concerned about discrimination, or it being used against you in a work environment.

HD: A quick clarification--well, he's coming back, maybe he can clarify himself a few minutes ago, he said all you care about is who does the checkbook?

SN: Meaning in the relationship who's the one who is responsible for this or that, like taking care of the bills? Who is the person who is structuring the different relationships. Not who writes the checkbook because we want their money.

GS: It's mechanics. Say your wife calls for you to pick her up. How late can you be without being offensive? That's the mechanics of living.

HD: See, that's the beauty of our relationship is that she never calls me to be picked up, because she doesn't want to be hauled around on a bicycle trailer.

I have this vague sense that we have met before.

EW: Really? I get that, too. I don't know why.

HD: I don't know, hmm. Well, we will sort it out eventually. We could go through a list of all of our contacts and figure out how many degrees of separation there are. Maybe it's just the Nickels Arcade association that I have happening here, but there was the Krappy Kamera Klub exhibit ...

GS: ... over here down the way.

HD: Yeah.

EW: No.

HD: You weren't at that?

EW: No.

HD: You've got nothing to do with pinhole photography or anything like that?

EW: No, no.

HD: All right, well, I took a shot. So this is just like a prime location for being in the thick of things for whatever might be going on in Ann Arbor. You guys typically go down to get lunch somewhere along State Street or?

EW: We used to.

SN: We used to go out almost every day. We try to do a beer-and-burger lunch at least once a week at Ashley's. That's always good.

HD: They have a lot of varieties of beer.

SN: They do.

HD: Have you ever tried their vanilla beer?

SN: No.

HD: They've got a vanilla beer and oh, it's yummy.

SN: We're cider fans.

GS: And they come back soused.

SN: Gary, that's not true.

HD: So for this downtown location are you guys doing the Curb Your Car Month at all?

SN:I have a child I have to take to school on the north side, so me getting on a bike taking her there and then coming downtown doesn't really ...

HD: ... doesn't work out an option. Right. But you know about it, right?

SN: Yes. That's her in the picture behind you.

HD: Oh, is that Valentine's Day?

SN: It was Halloween.

HD: Halloween? No. Halloween? Oh, okay.

GS: That's her desk out there, I don't know if you saw it. She spent the first two years of her life here out there. Shannon brought her in, and we'd all play with her.

SN: When she was four weeks old she was here every day.

HD: So has she taken the survey instrument yet?

SN: No, she's not quite old enough yet.

GS: You've got to be able to read.

HD: But you could verbally give her the questions, right?

SN: Well, Gary wrote a blog in the form of my daughter, Chloe, so it's somewhere online, but there are her preferences for processing information.

GS: There is a maturation cycle. Think about a child. The first thing they're doing is acquiring information, they're really not into organizing it, they're just trying to find out the dimensions of the world they're living in. They are RS [Reactive Stimulator]. They are spontaneous, but as a mature, they go into an LP [Logical Processor]. They learn the rules. Because it's rewarding if you know the rules. You get stuff. After you know the rules you migrate into an HA [Hypothetical Analyzer]. Why am I getting stuff? Why does this work?

And then only after all that will you start thinking and using the creative elements of connecting disparate things, because you need the rules and you need the logic to be able to create disparate things. Which is what we talked about earlier. The elements of creativity, you need the input, you need the rules, and you need the analysis in order to really be creative. So there is a progression, and she is in the LP stage now, her daughter. She is learning rules, she'll tell me what to do: because Mommy says this, we can't have the M&Ms. For some reason I always have M&Ms in my pocket when she's here. They just appear.

HD: You guys have got a big bowl of like, what is it, Zagnut or Mounds?

SN: It's quite a variety. We have Almond Joy, Peppermint Patties, all the little mini Hershey's .

HD: Really? I only saw the one variety over there.

SN: Those are just all on top.

HD: Oh, so somebody organized it into a nice layer on top.

SN: That would probably be Gary. He doesn't even eat those, there was no logic behind the organizing.

GS: We have to feed the UPS guy when he comes.

HD: So is there any thing else you guys want to cover right here on the teeter totter while we're here, last chance?

GS: It's time to bring up sweetie pie! I just want you try and drag something out of her, I just want to see you do it.

EW: This is a perfect example of you fighting my style. [laugh] I'm a strong HA [Hypothetical Analyzer]. I take things in and I think about them for a while. I don't do well in spontaneous situations for that reason.

HD: So have you thought for a while about where we might have met before?

EW: Actually, I was trying to remember that.

HD: Any progress on that?

EW: Did you spend any time in Birmingham?

HD: Birmingham?

EW: I feel like I met you a long time ago.

HD: Alabama?

EW: No, Michigan.

HD: No. See, my primary association with Birmingham is Alabama. Let's see, no. Somehow, yeah, we will figured out eventually, yeah. Or not. We will establish definitively that there is actually like 8 degrees of separation between us or something. Instead of the usual six.

GS: It's really hard to get 8 degrees of separation, just the mathematics of it.

HD: Well, thanks for letting me intrude on your day!

GS: We've enjoyed having you! You're quite an accomplished interviewer.

HD: Well thanks.

GS: I would encourage anybody who reads your blog if they have an opportunity, ...

HD: ... to have a go?

GS: To engage you.

HD: It is harmless isn't it?

GS: Well, I'm not sure it's harmless, but it is enjoyable.

HD: Well, there are no unreasonable risks.

SN: We should get Steve and Nicole and talk about what they've done here at the City. Can you see Nicole on the teeter totter, that would be great!

GS: She's spontaneous.

HD: Who are Steve and Nicole? That's what you said, Steve and Nicole, right?

SN: Steve and Nicole. They are the Peoplegro consultants.

HD: Oh, right, Peoplegro.

GS: They've got stories to tell. Any one of our consultants have more stories.

SN: There's a cartoon of them actually on our website. A lot of our clients like the cartoons, so they'll ...

HD:... so they'll ask to have a cartoon made of them?

SN: Yes.

HD: So you call up Ross, and you say, Hey, Ross, we need a cartoon of so and so?

SN: Gary will send him something ...

GS: ... I'll sketch it. Give him the idea. I'm thinking here what kind of cartoon we can get here. There usually has to be a mishap or something.

HD: Do you want to do a pratfall off the end?

GS: Or you could put a panic on her face by talking about her mother.

EW: Jeez.

GS: We need something for the cartoon!

SN: We have plenty of stuff, you just can't remember any of it yet.

GS: And you're welcome to use the web cam...

HD:... what I'm thinking about actually--you know, I didn't bring the laptop with me, so I'll have to make a trip back later in the day after my book hauling run--I was thinking of going out there and surely somebody's got a wireless network I can tap into.

GS: Oh yeah.

HD: And take a self portrait, and wave up to the web cam. I'll be able to monitor on my laptop, and then just save the image that is there at the moment, that is my plan.

GS: Or give Ross a call and see if you can peel it off. And peel it off as kind of a movie with a five second interval. Because I'm sure--he does all the cartoons and all the other silly things I ask them to do--I'm sure he can do that.

SN: Would that be Ross, or Scott, though?

GS: It's Ross I'm thinking of because he knows Derek.

SN: But can Ross get to it?

HD: You mean get at the server, or? Or the website or whatever he needs to get at?

GS: Yeah, peeling it off is just logic, and all he's got to do is store it. They are 300K pictures so it's not going to overwhelm any kind of hard drive.

HD: I like the idea of doing a self portrait just completely by myself. And then for other stuff like this monthly Ride Around Town maybe I can convince Ross to set up a way so that anytime people want they could grab the images, that would be great.

GS: If you want to, have him call me and I can reset the camera for one-second intervals.

HD: Really?!

GS: It's got to be five seconds generally, so it doesn't overwhelm things that are on the same server as all the other things.

HD: You mean like data and stuff, and analysis? Come on, make room for the web cam pictures, Gary, come on.

GS: Well, for the couple of hours I think it could work.

HD: Think about what's important!

GS: As a matter of fact I can set it to a continuous stream.

HD: Oh, so it would be actual video? That would be overkill I think.

GS: That would be 30 frames a second.

HD: I think that would be unnecessary.

GS: And I think that would overwhelm. But I could certainly set it for a second or so.

HD: Well listen, thanks I'll turn this stuff off now.