How computer-generated content can miss the key point

Posted: September 13, 2011 in content creation
Tags: , ,
Hand Of The Robot And The Laptop

We read last weekend’s NYT piece on computer-generated news stories with great interest (and we will quickly add that, no, this post is not being written by a machine).  The story reminded us of something we used to hear NetApp chairman Dan Warmenhoven say repeatedly to anyone who listened.  According to Warmenhoven, writing the plan isn’t so much about the the plan you end up with.  Rather, it’s largely about the process you go through to produce the plan.  What you think about, discover, debunk or become aware of as part of the diligence of the planning process can often force you re-think your strategy, tactics and even some of the fundamentals of your whole business.  This can make a huge difference.

Our experience with the process of writing white papers, case studies, speeches, or even blog posts is absolutely consistent with Warmenhoven’s observation.  The ideas and insights that can, and often do, bubble up during interviews — not to mention the reflection that happens during the editing process — provide the driving force a team may need to re-think its assumptions.  They can drive improvements to your strategy and a sharpening of tactics.  They can fortify a connection with a customer or a partner, especially during preparation of a case study.  We think of these things as being the equivalent of the “hallway conversations” you miss when your interactions are strictly via email, teleconference or webinar.   While we won’t  minimize the power and significance of machine intelligence, sometimes an “end product” includes what’s learned during production. Ask Dan Warmenhoven.

(This post appeared today on The Write Stuff.)

  1. This is also a great reason for high school students to take an early crack at college essays. In trying to write about how you are unique, you move down the thought path toward becoming unique in interesting ways.

    In the early days at Apple, I used to tell the engineers, “First we write the ad. Then we make it true.”

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