There is this thing I call “the threshold.” The concept of “what is this thing I keep hearing about?” More formally: how many times I have to hear about something before paying attention to it.
Though it may seem to contradict my last post, I then put emphasis on the importance of the topic. Knowing the words of a language you use is important. Keeping informed about the field you work in is also important. But not everything is.
Qualitatively, the threshold formula would look something like this:
I like to explain the threshold by telling people how I found out about bittorrent. I had been on a few news site and I had come across a few references about bittorent in the comments. That was in the very beginning of bittorrent, before “everybody” started using it, and that’s one of the main point. I used the google and moments later, realized what all that rising noise was about. The threshold is a measure of the “buzz”, what is happening out there in the world.
One of the reason I like to talk about the threshold with people is that
- they usually relate and start discussing the details of their methodology with me
- having a common terminology for this concept is quite useful
Next time you hear someone mention that a certain topic hit “the threshold,” you know exactly what they are talking about and you know you should be paying attention too.